Evaluation of a gall-forming psyllid (Calophya latiforceps) as a biological control agent of Brazilian peppertree

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Exhibit Hall 4 (Austin Convention Center)
Rodrigo Diaz , Department of Entomology & Nematology, University of Florida, Fort Pierce, FL
Diego Moscoso , Zamorano University, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Veronica Manrique , Indian River Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Fort Pierce, FL
William Overholt , Indian River Research & Education Center, University of Florida, Fort Pierce, FL
Gall forming insects are highly specialized herbivores.  Because of their specificity and damage to the host, gall formers have been used in several weed biological control programs. As an initial step towards understanding the suitability of leaf galling psyllids as potential biological control agents of Brazilian peppertree, we determined the life history adaptations of Calophya latiforceps under quarantine conditions.  The process of host colonization by Calophya latiforceps began when the female inserts an egg at the border of a leaflet or along a vein. Eggs hatch 8-9 days after oviposition and the first instar or ‘crawler’ explores the adaxial surface of the leaflet to find a place to settle.  A yellow halo is noticeable around nymphs two or three days after they settle. Gall growth increases over time and reaches a peak during the 4th and 5th instars. Development from egg to adult requires 37 days at 28 oC. Under no-choice conditions, females laid eggs on all Florida Brazilian peppertree genotypes, Schinus molle, two Rhus spp., Toxicodendron radicans, Pistacia vera and Hamamelis virginiana. By following the fate of these eggs, we confirmed that gall formation and immature survival to adult only occurred on Brazilian peppertree. Future studies will examine the impact of this agent on plant growth and reproduction.
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