, Volume 656, Issue 1, pp 149–158 | Cite as

Natural enemies from South Africa for biological control of Lagarosiphon major (Ridl.) Moss ex Wager (Hydrocharitaceae) in Europe

  • J.-R. Baars
  • J. A. Coetzee
  • G. Martin
  • M. P. Hill
  • J. M. Caffrey


The non-native invasive plant, Lagarosiphon major (Hydrocharitaceae) is a submersed aquatic macrophyte that poses a significant threat to water bodies in Europe. Dense infestations prove difficult to manage using traditional methods. In order to initiate a biocontrol programme, a survey for natural enemies of Lagarosiphon was conducted in South Africa. Several phytophagous species were recorded for the first time, with at least three showing notable promise as candidate agents. Amongst these, a leaf-mining fly, Hydrellia sp. (Ephydridae) that occurred over a wide distribution causes significant leaf damage despite high levels of parasitism by braconid wasps. Another yet unidentified fly was recorded mining the stem of L. major. Two leaf-feeding and shoot boring weevils, cf. Bagous sp. (Curculionidae) were recorded damaging the shoot tips and stunting the growth of the stem. Several leaf-feeding lepidopteran species (Nymphulinae) were frequently recorded, but are expected to feed on a wide range of plant species and are not considered for importation before other candidates are assessed. The discovery of several natural enemies in the country of origin improves the biological control prospects of L. major in Europe.


Hydrellia Bagous Leaf-mining fly Phytophagous organisms Classical biological control Native survey Ireland 



This project could not have been possible without the contribution from a number of people. The Central Fisheries Board is acknowledged for funding the survey. Thanks are due to colleagues in South Africa that provided valuable support, both practical and in the taxonomic identification of specimens. We gratefully acknowledge all the efforts from Dr. Stefan Neser for rearing insects, lodging specimens and making contact with specialists. Several specialist taxonomists are acknowledged for providing very efficient identification: Dr. Mervyn Mansel, Vivienne Uys, Dr. Gerhard Prinsloo, Riaan Stals (Biosystematics Division, ARC-PPRI, South Africa), and Dr. Rolf Oberprieler (CSIRO Entomology, Australia). We are grateful to Ms. Lesley Henderson (Weeds Division, ARC-PPRI), and staff of the South African National Biodiversity Institute for plant identifications, access to the Herbarium and providing locality records. Advice from colleagues in other overseas institutes is also acknowledged, including the one from Dr. Joe Balciunas (USDA-ARS, Exotic and Invasive Weed Lab).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • J.-R. Baars
    • 1
  • J. A. Coetzee
    • 2
  • G. Martin
    • 2
  • M. P. Hill
    • 2
  • J. M. Caffrey
    • 3
  1. 1.BioControl Research Unit, School of Biology and Environmental ScienceUniversity College DublinDublin 4Ireland
  2. 2.Department of Zoology and EntomologyRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  3. 3.Inland Fisheries IrelandCo. DublinIreland

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