Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Grand Exhibit Hall (Town and Country Hotel and Convention Center)
Brazilian peppertree, Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi (Anacardiaceae), a perennial woody plant native to Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, has become one of the most invasive weeds in Florida. A leaflet pit galling psyllid, Calophya terebinthifolii (Burckhardt & Basset), has been identified as a potential biological control agent. From May-August 2009, field and laboratory research was conducted at Gaspar, Santa Catarina, Brazil with psyllids collected from the Atlantic coastal region of Santa Catarina. Results of field studies in Brazil showed that the open pit galls produced by the developing nymphs were located on the adaxial (upper) side of the leaves (2.6 ± 1.8 galls/leaflet, range of 0-34). Laboratory rearing studies focused on: female fecundity (55.3 ± 8.9 eggs/female), number and size of the immature stages, age-specific survivorship, and mean generation time (43.7 ± 1.2 days). Psyllids from the Atlantic coastal region of Santa Catarina appear to be locally adapted to Brazilian peppertree haplotype A plants, which occur in Florida. Using collection and survey locations of the psyllids in their native range and point locations for haplotype A plants in Florida, prediction maps were created with the MaxEnt ecological niche model. The climatic overlap in Florida includes Volusia, coastal Pasco and Hernando counties, and a small section of southwestern Polk county; these counties would be targeted for initial releases if the psyllid is approved for field release. Additional studies will focus on the psyllid’s fundamental host range and performance on the two Brazilian peppertree genotypes and their hybrids that occur in Florida.