Ceratapion basicorne ("Ceba") is a weevil species found in southern Europe whose larvae feed inside the crown of yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis; "YST") rosettes. Host-range testing is being conducted to assess this insect's suitability for release in the USA as a biological control agent of YST. A field test was conducted in 2003 in southern France in a pasture with a large population of YST that was known to be infested with Ceba in 2002. In addition to YST, nine nontarget plant species were transplanted into a fenced enclosure (to prevent mammalian herbivory) in a completely randomized design (n=50). Test plant species included safflower (two varieties), lettuce, artichoke, Centaurea cyanus, and several native North American species of Asteraceae, including Centaurea americana. Ceba activity on YST plants outside the test enclosure was monitored regularly. The test plants were dug up and insect infestation data recorded when YST plants outside the test were found to have late-instar larvae and pupae of Ceba within their crowns. Results of the host range analysis are discussed below.
Species 1: Coleoptera Apionidae Ceratapion basicorne
Keywords: host-range testing, biological control of weeds
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