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Host Specificity and Environmental Impact of Two Leaf Beetles (Galerucella calmariensis and G. pusilla) for Biological Control of Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

  • Bernd Blossey (a1), Dieter Schroeder (a1), Stephen D. Hight (a2) and Richard A. Malecki (a3)

Many prime wetlands in North America have been degraded following encroachment by the exotic plant purple loosestrife. Conventional methods are unsuccessful in providing long-term control. Host specificity studies demonstrated the suitability of two leaf beetles, Galerucella calmariensis and G. pusilla, as biological weed control agents. Adults oviposited only on plants within the genus Lythrum. The only species other than purple loosestrife where adult feeding and oviposition occurred and that supported successful larval development was winged lythrum. Swamp loosestrife and winged lythrum may be vulnerable to limited attack by newly emerged teneral adults. Evaluation of the potential environmental impact of the two leaf beetles showed that benefits of an introduction outweigh potential risks to winged lythrum or swamp loosestrife. Their field release was approved in 1992.

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Weed Science
  • ISSN: 0043-1745
  • EISSN: 1550-2759
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