, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 227-233

First online:

Role of molecular genetics in identifying ‘fine tuned’ natural enemies of the invasive Brazilian peppertree, Schinus terebinthifolius: a review

  • J. P. CudaAffiliated withEntomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida Email author 
  • , L. R. ChristAffiliated withEntomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida
  • , V. ManriqueAffiliated withBiological Control Research and Containment Laboratory, University of Florida
  • , W. A. OverholtAffiliated withBiological Control Research and Containment Laboratory, University of Florida
  • , G. S. WheelerAffiliated withUSDA-ARS Invasive Plant Research Laboratory
  • , D. A. WilliamsAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Texas Christian University

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Brazilian peppertree, Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi (Sapindales: Anacardiaceae), is a highly successful invasive species in the continental United States, Hawaiian archipelago, several Caribbean Islands, Australia, Bermuda, and a number of other countries worldwide. It also is one of only a few invasive intraspecific hybrids that has been well characterized genetically. The natural enemy complex of Brazilian peppertree includes two thrips and two psyllids that appear to be highly adapted to specific haplotypes or their hybrids. Successful biological control of Brazilian peppertree will require careful matching of the appropriate natural enemies with their host plant genotypes. The Brazilian peppertree model reviewed here could provide a useful framework for studying biological control agents on other invasive weed species that have exhibited intraspecific hybridization.


Intraspecific hybridization Host-plant genotypes Biological control Local adaptation Pseudophilothrips ichini Pseudophilothrips gandolfoi Calophya terebinthifolii Calophya latiforceps Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripidae Hemiptera: Calophyidae Sapindales: Anacardiaceae