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Impact of the biological control agent Mesoclanis polana (Tephritidae) on bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera subsp. rotundata) in eastern Australia

  • P.B. Edwards (a1), R.J. Adair (a2), R.H. Holtkamp (a3), W.J. Wanjura (a1), A.S. Bruzzese (a2) and R.I. Forrester (a4)...

Abstract

The seed fly Mesoclanis polana (Diptera: Tephritidae) was released in Australia in 1996. Its impact on seed production of bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera subsp. rotundata) was monitored at eight sites along the New South Wales coast from 1996 to 2004. Peak flowerhead production occurred in autumn (March to May); therefore, samples collected in May of each year were used to compare abundance and impact of M. polana across sites and between years. Latitude had a significant effect on abundance and impact of M. polana. By May 2004, 99.6% of flowerheads at the five most northern sites contained at least one egg, while 64% of flowerheads from the two most southern sites contained at least one egg. In May 2004, mean numbers of M. polana eggs per flowerhead were between 13 and 17 at four of the six northern sites and below two at the two southern sites. In May 2004, average seed destruction by M. polana was 58% at the four most northern sites and 11% at the two most southern sites. The highest level of seed destruction recorded was 86% at Kingscliff in May 2003. Percentage seed destruction in May provided a reasonable estimate of seed destruction for the whole year. Parasitoids were found throughout the range of M. polana in Australia. Their attack rate on M. polana was less than 10% at all sites, except at the two most northern sites where parasitism of up to 27% was recorded. Parasitism results are compared with predictions made following an earlier study. The release of Mesoclanis magnipalpis, a species suited to cooler environments, is recommended for the southern range of C. monilifera subsp. rotundata.

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Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence Fax: +61 7 5494 3175 E-mail: pbe@aapt.net.au

References

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Keywords

Impact of the biological control agent Mesoclanis polana (Tephritidae) on bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera subsp. rotundata) in eastern Australia

  • P.B. Edwards (a1), R.J. Adair (a2), R.H. Holtkamp (a3), W.J. Wanjura (a1), A.S. Bruzzese (a2) and R.I. Forrester (a4)...

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