Abstract submitted after deadline (6/16/03)
Often, weed biological control is considered successful only with reductions in existing populations of weeds due to a biological control agent(s) (BCAs). The slowing/halting of the spread of a weed, although not as dramatic or noticeable, can also be considered successful control. The spread of weeds tends to radiate by numerous foci, not as a single expanding front. Foci abundance and spread are increased mainly by dispersal from parent populations, and are of equal or greater importance of the spread of invasive weeds than their parent populations (Moody and Mack, 1988). BCAs that disperse well and slolw/halt the spread of these new foci are valuable in overall weed control for three reasons; (a) their effect on current weed populations, (b) their ability to establish on undetected (usually smaller and less dense) weed populations that escape other types of control, and (c) their ability to stop potential future infestations. Two invasive weeds, Linaria genistifolia ssp. Dalmatica (Dalmatian toadflax) and Linaria vulgaris (yellow toadflax) disperse and establish in natural areas through the spread of its seed. Brachypterolus pulicarius (Coleoptera: Kateridae), inadvertently introduced from Europe is a BCA that can effectively control seed set in both toadflax species and disperse without assistance. Our studies show that beetles collected from both toadflax species prefer yellow toadflax. Brachypterolus pulicarius can been found on very small populations of yellow toadflax, suggesting that newly established patches of this weed would have a high probability to attract this beetle. Control of yellow toadflax dispersal from undetected patches can be achieved by the presence of B. pulicarius. Studies to find populations of B. pulicarius that prefer Dalmatian toadflax to stem the spread of this weed should also be undertaken.
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