, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 163–172 | Cite as

Host specificity ofDisonycha argentinensis [Col.: Chrysomelidae], an agent for the biological control ofalternanthera philoxeroides (Alligator weed) in Australia

  • D. P. A. Sands
  • R. C. Kassulke
  • K. L. S. Harley


The biology and host specificity of a South American flea beetle,Disonycha argentinensisJacoby was investigated in quarantine facilities in Australia. Damage from feeding by larvae and adults ofD. argentinensis onAlternanthera philoxeroides (Mart.) Griseb (alligator weed) indicated that it might be a useful biological control agent for the plant when growing in terrestrial situations. Complete development of the immature stages took place only onAlternanthera philoxeroides. Adults produced a few feeding scars onBeta vulgaris L. (beetroot) andAmaranthus spinosus L. (spiny amaranth) but failed to oviposit. Host specificity studies indicated that establishment of this beetle in Australia would be without significant risk to nontarget plant species.D. argentinensis was first released in Australia in 1980.


Plant Species Plant Pathology Biological Control Significant Risk Control Agent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


La biologie et la spécificité du coléoptère sud américainDisonycha argentinensisJacoby ont été étudiées en quarantaine en Australie. Les dommages causés par les larves et les adultes lors de leur alimentation sur la plante aquatiqueAlternanthera philoxeroides(Mart.) Griser font apparaître queD. argentinensis pourrait être utilisé comme agent biologique contrôlant le développement terrestre de cette plante. La totalité du développement des stades immatures s'est uniquement faite surA. philoxeroides. Les adultes ont effectués quelques essais d'alimentation sur la betterave et l'amaranthe épineuse mais n'ont pas pondu. A partir des études sur la spécificité de l'insecte, il est conclu que l'établissement de ce coléoptère en Australie devrait s'effectuer sans risque important d'attaque sur d'autres plantes. Le premier lâcher en Australie deD. argentinensis fut entrepris en 1980.


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Copyright information

© Balthazar Publications 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. P. A. Sands
    • 1
  • R. C. Kassulke
    • 1
  • K. L. S. Harley
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Entomology, CSIROLong Pocket LaboratoriesBrisbaneAustralia

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