, Volume 60, Issue 5, pp 703–713 | Cite as

Host range and impact of the stem- and leaf-deforming thrips, Liothrips tractabilis: a biological control agent for Campuloclinium macrocephalum, in South Africa

  • Andrew McConnachie
  • Fernando McKay


We report on the host range and impact of Liothrips tractabilis Mound and Pereyra (Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripinae), the first biological control agent to be considered for Campuloclinium macrocephalum (Less.) DC. (Asteraceae) (pompom weed) in South Africa. Laboratory host-range tests were conducted on 45 Asteraceae species. Field host range studies included 16 Asteraceae species. Results of both laboratory tests and field host range data indicated that L. tractabilis is suitably host specific to C. macrocephalum and hence safe for release in South Africa. Laboratory impact studies on both seedlings and regrowth showed that, even under low inoculation densities, L. tractabilis had a significant impact on plant height, number of leaves, flower production and biomass. Based on the above data, permission for the release of the thrips was applied for, and in June 2013, granted by South African authorities. First releases of L. tractabilis were made in the summer of 2013/2014, and in November 2014 its establishment was confirmed.


Asteraceae Thysanoptera Phlaeothripinae Host-specificity testing Weed biological control Pompom weed 



We thank E. Richter, S. Sambo, M. Gareeb, D. Nkala, M. Yengwa, L. Khumalo and P. Mpedi of the Plant Protection Research Institute (PPRI) for technical assistance. S. Neser, L. van der Westhuizen, T. Olckers, J. Goodall, L. Henderson and H. Klein (PPRI) are thanked for their various inputs to the programme. Juan Briano (FUeDEI, Argentina) is thanked for contract and research facilitation. Financial support for this programme was provided by the Department of Environmental Affairs: Natural Resource Management Programme (DEA-NRMP), the Invasive Alien Species Programme of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Development, and the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa.


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Copyright information

© International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Agricultural Research Council – Plant Protection Research Institute, Weed ResearchHiltonSouth Africa
  2. 2.Weed Research Unit, Biosecurity NSW, Department of Primary IndustriesOrangeAustralia
  3. 3.Fundación para el Estudio de Especies InvasivasHurlinghamArgentina

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