The effect of two biological control agents, the weevil Neochetina eichhorniae and the mirid Eccritotarsus catarinensis on water hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes, grown in culture with water lettuce, Pistia stratiotes

Publication Type:Journal Article
Authors:O. Ajuonu, Byrne, M., Hill, M., Neuenschwander, P., Korie, S.
Journal:BioControl (Dordrecht)
Date Published:February
:Neochetina eichhorniae

We assessed the effect of two biological control agents, the mirid Eccritotarsus catarinensis (Carvalho) and the weevil Neochetina eichhorniae (Warner), singly or in combination, on the competitive ability of their host plant, water hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms-Laub., grown in a screen house, in competition with another aquatic plant (Pistia stratiotes L.). Water hyacinth plant growth characteristics measured included fresh weight, leaf and petiole lengths, number of inflorescences produced, and new shoots. Without herbivory, water hyacinth was 18 times more competitive than water lettuce (across all experimental combinations of initial plant densities), as estimated from fresh weights. Both insect species, singly or in combination, reduced water hyacinth plant growth characteristics. E. catarinensis alone was less damaging than the weevil and under normal conditions, i.e., floating water hyacinth, is not expected to increase control of water hyacinth beyond that of the weevil. When combined with the weevil, half the inoculum of weevils and half the inoculum of mirids produced the same growth reduction as the full inoculum of the weevil. Under conditions where the weevils are not effective because water hyacinths are seasonally rooted in mud, the mirid, which lives entirely on leaves, should become a useful additional biological control agent.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith