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Article

Biological and Host Range Characteristics of Lysathia flavipes (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), a Candidate Biological Control Agent of Invasive Ludwigia spp. (Onagraceae) in the USA

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USDA-ARS, Invasive Species and Pollinator Health Research Unit, Western Regional Research Center, 800 Buchanan St., Albany, CA 94710, USA
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USDA-ARS, Invasive Species and Pollinator Health Research Unit, University of California Davis, Department of Plant Sciences Mail Stop 4, One Shields Ave, Davis, CA 95616, USA
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US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), Aquatic Ecology and Invasive Species Branch, 3909 Halls Ferry Rd, Vicksburg, MS 39180, USA
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Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria (INIA), Estación Experimental INIA La Estanzuela, Ruta 50 Km 11, Colonia del Sacramento, Colonia, Uruguay
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Fundación para el Estudio de Especies Invasivas (FuEDEI), Simón Bolívar 1559, Hurlingham (CP1686), Buenos Aires B1686EFA, Argentina
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Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Godoy Cruz 2290, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires C1425FQB, Argentina
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Brian G. Rector and Massimo Cristofaro
Insects 2021, 12(5), 471; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12050471
Received: 29 March 2021 / Revised: 6 May 2021 / Accepted: 17 May 2021 / Published: 19 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Control of Invasive Plants Using Arthropods)
Exotic water primroses (Ludwigia spp.) are aggressive plant invaders in aquatic ecosystems worldwide. Management of exotic Ludwigia spp. is limited to physical and chemical control methods. Biological control, the use of insects to control exotic plants, is an alternative approach for the management of exotic Ludwigia spp. However, little is known regarding the natural enemies of these plants in their native range in South America. In this study, we investigated the biology and host range of a natural enemy, the flea beetle Lysathia flavipes, to determine its suitability as a biocontrol agent for exotic Ludwigia spp. in the USA. The beetle matures from egg to adult in approximately 20 days at 25 °C. Females lived approximately 86 days and laid 278–2456 eggs over their lifespans. No-choice development and oviposition tests were conducted using four exotic Ludwigia species and seven native USA plant species. The beetle showed little discrimination between plant species: larvae aggressively fed and completed development, and females laid eggs on most plant species regardless of origin. These results indicate that the beetle is not sufficiently host-specific for further consideration as a biological control agent of exotic Ludwigia spp. in the USA and further testing is not warranted.
Exotic water primroses (Ludwigia spp.) are aggressive invaders in aquatic ecosystems worldwide. To date, management of exotic Ludwigia spp. has been limited to physical and chemical control methods. Biological control provides an alternative approach for the management of invasive Ludwigia spp. but little is known regarding the natural enemies of these exotic plants. Herein the biology and host range of Lysathia flavipes (Boheman), a herbivorous beetle associated with Ludwigia spp. in Argentina and Uruguay, was studied to determine its suitability as a biocontrol agent for multiple closely related target weeds in the USA. The beetle matures from egg to adult in 19.9 ± 1.4 days at 25 °C; females lived 86.3 ± 35.6 days and laid 1510.6 ± 543.4 eggs over their lifespans. No-choice development and oviposition tests were conducted using four Ludwigia species and seven native plant species. Lysathia flavipes showed little discrimination between plant species: larvae aggressively fed and completed development, and the resulting females (F1 generation) oviposited viable eggs on most plant species regardless of origin. These results indicate that L. flavipes is not sufficiently host-specific for further consideration as a biocontrol agent of exotic Ludwigia spp. in the USA and further testing is not warranted. View Full-Text
Keywords: aquatic weeds; invasive species; management; host specificity; development aquatic weeds; invasive species; management; host specificity; development
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MDPI and ACS Style

Reddy, A.M.; Pratt, P.D.; Grewell, B.J.; Harms, N.E.; Cibils-Stewart, X.; Cabrera Walsh, G.; Faltlhauser, A. Biological and Host Range Characteristics of Lysathia flavipes (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), a Candidate Biological Control Agent of Invasive Ludwigia spp. (Onagraceae) in the USA. Insects 2021, 12, 471. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12050471

AMA Style

Reddy AM, Pratt PD, Grewell BJ, Harms NE, Cibils-Stewart X, Cabrera Walsh G, Faltlhauser A. Biological and Host Range Characteristics of Lysathia flavipes (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), a Candidate Biological Control Agent of Invasive Ludwigia spp. (Onagraceae) in the USA. Insects. 2021; 12(5):471. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12050471

Chicago/Turabian Style

Reddy, Angelica M., Paul D. Pratt, Brenda J. Grewell, Nathan E. Harms, Ximena Cibils-Stewart, Guillermo Cabrera Walsh, and Ana Faltlhauser. 2021. "Biological and Host Range Characteristics of Lysathia flavipes (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), a Candidate Biological Control Agent of Invasive Ludwigia spp. (Onagraceae) in the USA" Insects 12, no. 5: 471. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12050471

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