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Diversity 2018, 10(3), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10030073

Weevils as Targets for Biological Control, and the Importance of Taxonomy and Phylogeny for Efficacy and Biosafety

1
AgResearch Invermay, Mosgiel PB 50034, New Zealand
2
Better Border Biosecurity (B3), Lincoln 7608, New Zealand
3
CAB International, Bakeham Lane, Egham, Surrey TW20 9TY, UK
4
CSIRO, Australian National Insect Collection, G.P.O. Box 1700, Canberra A.C.T. 2601, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 July 2018 / Revised: 20 July 2018 / Accepted: 21 July 2018 / Published: 25 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systematics and Phylogeny of Weevils)
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Abstract

Curculionidae are a large mainly herbivorous family of beetles, some of which have become crop pests. Classical biological control has been attempted for about 38 species in 19 genera, and at least moderate success has been achieved in 31 % of cases. Only two weevil species have been considered to be completely controlled by a biological control agent. Success depends upon accurately matching natural enemies with their hosts, and hence taxonomy and phylogeny play a critical role. These factors are discussed and illustrated with two case studies: the introduction of the braconid parasitoid Mictroctonus aethiopoides into New Zealand for biological control of the lucerne pest Sitona discoideus, a case of complex phylogenetic relationships that challenged the prediction of potential non-target hosts, and the use of a mymarid egg parasitoid, Anaphes nitens, to control species of the eucalypt weevil genus Gonipterus, which involves failure to match up parasitoids with the right target amongst a complex of very closely related species. We discuss the increasing importance of molecular methods to support biological control programmes and the essential role of these emerging technologies for improving our understanding of this very large and complex family. View Full-Text
Keywords: Curculionidae; biological control; target host; non-target host; taxonomy; phylogeny Curculionidae; biological control; target host; non-target host; taxonomy; phylogeny
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Barratt, B.I.P.; Cock, M.J.W.; Oberprieler, R.G. Weevils as Targets for Biological Control, and the Importance of Taxonomy and Phylogeny for Efficacy and Biosafety. Diversity 2018, 10, 73.

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