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Title: Population dynamics and impacts of the red-headed leafy spurge stem borer on leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula)

Author: Progar, Robert A.; Markin, George; Milan, Joseph; Barbouletos, Tom; Rinella, Matthew J.

Date: 2011

Source: Invasive Plant Science and Management. 4: 183-188

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: We evaluated the efficacy of the biological control agent, red-headed leafy spurge stem borer, against the nonnative invasive plant leafy spurge. Our three treatments were release of the biological control agent into uncaged plots, release of the biological control agent into plots caged to prevent agent escape, and control plots caged to prevent agent entry. These treatments were replicated three times at six sites in the western United States. We measured leafy spurge biomass for 1 or 2 yr following release. We also measured the percentage of leafy spurge stems showing evidence of red-headed leafy spurge stem borer oviposition for either 1 or 2 yr following agent release, depending on the site. Red-headed leafy spurge stem borer did not demonstrably reduce leafy spurge biomass in our study. Moreover, compared to the release year, evidence of red-headed leafy spurge stem borer oviposition declined with time, suggesting the agent population was diminishing. This suggests the agent is incapable of building large populations capable of controlling leafy spurge at the sites we studied. However, after being released, populations of biological control agents sometimes go through long lag phases and then begin rapid population increases, so we cannot completely dismiss the possibility that red-headed leafy spurge stem borer might become effective given more time.

Keywords: biocontrol, invasive weeds, leafy spurge, Oberea erythrocephala

Publication Notes:

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Progar, Robert A.; Markin, George; Milan, Joseph; Barbouletos, Tom; Rinella, Matthew J. 2011. Population dynamics and impacts of the red-headed leafy spurge stem borer on leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula). Invasive Plant Science and Management. 4: 183-188.

 


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