, Volume 59, Issue 4, pp 473–483 | Cite as

Biology and host specificity of Rhinusa pilosa, a recommended biological control agent of Linaria vulgaris

  • André GassmannEmail author
  • Rosemarie De Clerck-Floate
  • Sharlene Sing
  • Ivo Toševski
  • Milana Mitrović
  • Olivier Krstić


Linaria vulgaris Mill. (Plantaginaceae), common or yellow toadflax, is a Eurasian short-lived perennial forb invasive throughout temperate North America. Rhinusa pilosa (Gyllenhal) (Coleoptera, Curculionidae) is a univoltine shoot-galling weevil found exclusively on L. vulgaris in Europe. Under no-choice test conditions, 13 non-native Linaria species exposed to R. pilosa were accepted for oviposition and most were found to be suitable, to varying degrees, for gall and larval development. Adult feeding and survival was minimal on native North American species in the plant tribe Antirrhineae which includes the target plant. In no-choice tests with 63 native North American species and 24 other non-target species outside Linaria, oviposition was limited to four native North American species. Only three larvae developed to the adult stage on Sairocarpus virga (A. Gray) D.A. Sutton, with no negative impact on plant growth. Risks to native flora from the release of R. pilosa are therefore expected to be minimal. The Technical Advisory Group for the Biological Control of Weeds (TAG—BCW) has recommended release of R. pilosa in September 2013.


Common toadflax Yellow toadflax Curculionidae Host range tests Pre-release studies Biological control of weeds 



We are most grateful for the laboratory assistance of J. Jović in Serbia, and E. Barnewall, E. Pavlik and C. Durand in Canada. R. Caldara (Milano, Italy) is acknowledged for his important contribution to the classical taxonomy of Rhinusa, and B. Emerson, G. Hernández-Vera and L. Legarreta (University of East Anglia, Norwich) whose timely molecular analyses resolved key issues related to the phylogeny of Rhinusa pilosa and relatives. Funding for this research was enabled by the Toadflax Biological Control Consortium, through long-persistent support and interest from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, California Department of Food and Agriculture, Montana Noxious Weed Trust Fund (through Montana State University), USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA APHIS PPQ Center for Plant Health Science and Technology, and Wyoming Biological Control Steering Committee.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 31 kb)
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Copyright information

© International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • André Gassmann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rosemarie De Clerck-Floate
    • 2
  • Sharlene Sing
    • 3
  • Ivo Toševski
    • 1
    • 4
  • Milana Mitrović
    • 4
  • Olivier Krstić
    • 4
  1. 1.CABIDelémontSwitzerland
  2. 2.Agriculture and Agri-Food CanadaLethbridge Research CentreLethbridgeCanada
  3. 3.USDA Forest Service – Rocky Mountain Research StationBozemanUSA
  4. 4.Department of Plant PestsInstitute for Plant Protection and EnvironmentZemunSerbia

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