European ectoparasitoids of two classical weed biological control agents released in North America.

Muller, F.J., Mason, P.G., Dosdall, L.M., and Kuhlmann, U. (2011). "European ectoparasitoids of two classical weed biological control agents released in North America.", Canadian Entomologist, 143(2), pp. 197-210. doi : 10.4039/n10-057  Access to full text


The ceutorhynchine weevils Hadroplontus litura (F.) and Microplontus edentulus (Schultze) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), are established in North America as biological control agents for Canada thistle, Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop., and scentless chamomile, Tripleurospermum perforatum (Mérat) M. Lainz (Asteraceae), respectively. In North America, both weeds occur sympatrically and in similar habitats as another ceutorhynchine, Ceutorhynchus obstrictus (Marsham) (cabbage seedpod weevil), an important pest of canola, Brassica napus L., and Brassica rapa L. (Brassicaceae). Ceutorhynchinae weevils released to control weeds in cultivated crops may serve as alternate hosts if agents released for biological control of C. obstrictus are not specific to that species. Parasitoids associated with M. edentulus and H. litura inflict similar levels of mortality on their hosts, yet a single species was associated with the latter host, whereas 13 species attacked the former. The stem-mining M. edentulus appears to be at some risk but not the root-crown feeding H. litura, should the parasitoids Trichomalus perfectus (Walker) and Mesopolobus morys (Walker) (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae) be introduced as biological control agents of the silique-feeding C. obstrictus. These findings suggest that feeding niche may be an important criterion for developing a nontarget species test list for host-range testing of potential biological control agents.

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