Natural Enemies of Brazilian Peppertree (Sapindales: Anacardiaceae) from Argentina: Their Possible Use for Biological Control in the USA

Fernando Mc Kay, Marina Oleiro, Guillermo Cabrera Walsh, Daniel Gandolfo, James P. Cuda, Gregory S. Wheeler

Abstract


Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi, Anacardiaceae) is a perennial tree native to Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. The plant was introduced into the USA before 1900. Originally grown as an ornamental, Brazilian peppertree is now considered an noxious plant in Hawaii and Florida, where it is ranked among the most important threats to biodiversity in natural areas. Recent surveys conducted in northeastern Argentina recovered one fungus associated with distorted leaves and 36 phytophagous insects collected on Brazilian peppertree. A leaf-feeding notodontid moth, a new species of gracillariid leaf blotch miner, and a stem-boring weevil have been selected for further studies to determine their potential as biological control agents of Brazilian peppertree in the USA. The results of these surveys are summarized herein and descriptions are included of the insects that are considered most promising for biological control of this weed.

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