Biology of Bucculatrix parthenica Bradley sp. n. (Lepidoptera: Bucculatricidae) and its establishment in Australia as a biological control agent for Parthenium hysterophorus (Asteraceae)
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 July 2009
Bucculatrix parthenica Bradley sp. n., a moth native to Mexico, is described. It has been released and established in Queensland, Australia, as a biological control agent for its host plant, Parthenium hysterophorus. The moth oviposits on leaves of its host. First and second instar larvae are leaf miners, and later instars feed externally on the leaves. The life cycle occupies about 25 days under field conditions. B. parthenica was narrowly oligophagous in host-specificity tests. In Mexico the insect is scarce but in Queensland it has become abundant enough to cause extensive defoliation of its host plant at some sites. Its rapid increase in Queensland is attributed to the absence of parasitism.
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