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Non-target plant use by a weed biocontrol agent in Idaho: host expansion or opportunistic behavior?

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Larinus curtus Hochhuth (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) was first introduced into the western United States from Greece for the biological control of yellow starthistle (YST), Centaurea solstitialis L., in 1992. The discovery of L. curtus adults in the open flowerheads of safflower (SF), Carthamus tinctorius L., near Lewiston, Idaho in 2007 suggested this weevil might be expanding its host range to include a non-target crop species closely related to YST. In 2008 field plots near the 2007 observation site, 92 L. curtus adults fed in open SF flowerheads (pollen feeding and minor feeding on corolla tubes). No eggs were found in the ovarioles of 19 pollen-feeding females. No eggs, larvae, or evidence of larval feeding were detected in 39 tagged SF capitula, and no adults emerged from approximately 7,135 post-flowering SF capitula. These collective results are not indicative of an expanding developmental host-range of L. curtus. Also, they are consistent with pre-release host-specificity test results.
Clement, S.L. , Smith, L.J. , Prena, J. , Kleene, M.D. , Johnson, R.C.
Includes references
Biocontrol science and technology 2009, v. 19, no. 3-4
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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