What is it about?

We determined that the origin of a specialist herbivore beetle (Stolas punicea) affected its preference over plants (Mikania micrantha) from distinct geographical regions and different chemical composition. Beetles preferred to feed on plants from locations closer to their own origin and this apparent local adaptation may hinder their potential as a biological control for the invasive weed.

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Why is it important?

The use of insects for biological control of invasive plants requires we determine its capacity to establish and cause severe damage on all the chemical phenotypes of its host. We showed that populations of a specialist beetle may vary significantly in their host preference and this is highly relevant to their potential as a biocontrol species.

Perspectives

This works shows one should be careful when looking for biological control species, as their capacity to attack the problematic species may be vary significantly among regions.

Angel E Bravo-Monzón
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico

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This page is a summary of: Differential herbivory of the specialist beetleStolas puniceaon chemical phenotypes of its hostMikania micrantha, Biocontrol Science and Technology, January 2016, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/09583157.2015.1118436.
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