Progress on weed biocontrol projects in Paraná State, Brazil: targeting plants that are invasive in Brazil and elsewhere in the world

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1 Progress on weed biocontrol projects in Paraná State, Brazil: targeting plants that are invasive in Brazil and elsewhere in the world J.H. Pedrosa-Macedo 1 Summary Biological control projects against weeds in Paraná State, Brazil are currently focused on six species or species groups. Two projects, including native Senecio species (Asteraceae) and the exotic Tecoma stans (L.) Kunth (Bignoniaceae), involve studies on the ecology and natural enemies of plants that are problematic in Brazil. Native Senecio species are particularly problematic in Brazilian pastures, where losses of livestock, notably cattle, due to toxicity have been estimated to cost US$7.5 million annually in the State of Rio Grande do Sul alone. The Central American T. stans, which has become an increasing problem in pastures in Paraná State, is currently the subject of botanical studies and studies on associated insects and fungal pathogens. The remaining four projects represent cooperative research programs with international organisations and involve studies on the ecology and natural enemies of native Brazilian plants that are invasive elsewhere in the world. These species include Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi (Anacardiaceae) and Tibouchina herbacea (Melastomataceae), both of which are problematic in Hawaii, Psidium cattleianum Sabine (Myrtaceae), which is invasive in Florida (USA), and Solanum mauritianum Scopoli (Solanaceae), which invades the high rainfall regions of South Africa. This paper updates the progress achieved with these six projects. Keywords: Psidium cattleianum, Schinus terebinthifolius, Senecio spp., Solanum mauritianum, Tecoma stans, Tibouchina herbacea. Introduction The Federal University, Paraná, Brazil (UFPR), has encouraged studies on agricultural weeds as well as the training of weed specialists in the departments of Forest Sciences, Veterinary Studies and Entomology since These programs led to the establishment of international programs aimed principally at the development of biocontrol agents against Brazilian species that have become pests elsewhere. Several species of Senecio kill cattle in Rio Grande do Sul State (Riet-Correa et al. 1991). S. brasiliensis is the most problematic species, as it is a significant weed in pastures in the southern states of Brazil. It is a large, 1 Centro de Ciências Florestais DECIF-SCA Universidade Federal do Paraná, Av. Lothário Meissner, 3400, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil. Laboratório Neotropical de Controle Biológico de Plantas perennial plant that can form significant stands within 2 3 years. The economic losses due to intoxication induced by Senecio species are estimated at US$7.5 million (Mendez 1997, Riet-Correa & Medeiros 2000, Karam et al. 2002). Our intention is to augment populations of the most damaging insects in the hope that they will reduce stands significantly. The amarelinho (yellow bells), Tecoma stans, is another priority species. This plant, which has spread throughout several parts of the world, presents conflicts of interest in that it is considered either as a weed, an ornamental or a medicinal plant (Kranz & Passini 1997). It is considered an invasive alien plant in the Brazilian savanna (Mendonça et al. 1998). International cooperative studies are being conducted against strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum Myrtaceae), Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolius Anacardiaceae), glory bush 310

2 Weed biocontrol in Paraná (Tibouchina herbacea Melastomataceae) and bugweed (Solanum mauritianum Solanaceae). There is a wide range of insects that cause damage on leaves, growth buds, flower buds, flowers and fruits of these plants. Over 18 species are undergoing intensive field and laboratory research aimed at elucidating their biology, host specificity and impact. To facilitate field and laboratory studies, an arboretum has been developed containing a variety of species in the following families: Asteraceae, Anacardiaceae, Bignoniaceae, Convolvulaceae, Lauraceae, Melastomataceae, Poaceae, Solanaceae, Myrtaceae and Rutaceae. Research is carried out in collaboration with various UFPR units. FUPEF (Fundação de Pesquisas Florestais do Paraná) is a university foundation that administers most foreign cooperative agreements (currently University of Hawaii, University of Florida, and Plant Protection Institute of South Africa). Besides these agreements, there are cooperative arrangements with local universities and government agencies, principally UNICENTRO (Universidade Estadual do Centro- Oeste, Irati, PR), FURB (Fundação Universidade de Blumenau, SC), UEL (Universidade Estadual de Londrina, PR), and UFPel (Universidade Federal de Pelotas, RS). The study region Universidade Federal do Paraná has an ideal location in Curitiba due to its proximity to several major habitats, viz. Atlantic Forest (tropical, from sea level to 650 m), restinga (sea level to 20 m) and Araucaria Forest (subtropical 650 to 1100 m). All are within km of the university. This closeness enables studies of insects and diseases associated with the target plants to be undertaken throughout the year under natural conditions, as well as in the greenhouses and arboreta. The conditions at Curitiba were advantageous enough that CSIRO (Australia) maintained a biological control laboratory there during the 1970s and 1980s. Coastal restinga vegetation consists of a wide variety of plants growing in sandy substrate with a high water table. The forest today is all secondary and of short stature, not more than 5 m. There are a few protected areas, but the region has marginal agricultural potential so disturbance is minimal. The climate is hot and humid with year-round average temperature between C (min. 0.9 C, max. 38 C) and annual rainfall between 1430 and 2450 mm (Maack 1968). Droughts are possible in June and July (Carpanezzi et al. 1986). The Atlantic Forest ranges from m. It is mostly secondary forest with some pockets of primary vegetation. The climate is humid, tropical, with temperatures from 15 to 19 C (min. 5 C, max. 38 C) and annual rainfall between 1250 and 2500 mm. In Paraná, much of this forest is protected. However, some limited subsistence agriculture is practised on a small scale in some areas (Carpanezzi et al. 1986). The subtropical first plateau ranges from 650 to 1100 m. The climate is hot and humid with temperatures between 15 and 19 C (min. 10 C, max. 35 C), 0 40 frosts per year and mm annual rainfall. Droughts are extremely rare (Carpanezzi et. al. 1986). Within the region there are several protected forest areas, including Araucaria angustifolia (Araucariaceae) cloud forest, as well as extensive secondary forest and submontane fields available for studies. Biological control research projects The current research program at Curitiba includes efforts to control Tecoma stans in Paraná State and Senecio brasiliensis (Asteraceae) in southern Brazil (Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul). The cooperative program with the University of Florida (Brazilian peppertree control project) and with the University of Hawaii (strawberry guava and Tibouchina biological control projects) are continuing at an advanced phase of agent selection, host range and impact tests. The cooperative program with the Plant Protection Research Institute, South Africa is also active, testing the host range of one only agent on six Solanaceae species. Tecoma stans (Bignoniaceae) amarelinho yellow bells The plant is found throughout much of Brazil, from Amazonia (Manaus) south to Rio Grande do Sul (Butiá). In the north and northeastern regions of the Paraná state, it occupies over 50,000 ha of pastureland. The infestation is centered around Londrina, where over 10,000 ha of pasture has been lost to weed infestations. Yet, in Curitiba and vicinities, it is used as in urban forestry from where it has dispersed to abandoned grounds. We have initiated phenological studies. A number of insects have been collected, including Lepidoptera (2 spp.), Coleoptera (9 spp.), Homoptera (2 spp.), Hymenoptera (6 spp.), Hemiptera (5 spp.) and Thysanoptera (1 sp.). Two unidentified Lepidoptera species attack the plant: a leaf-roller (Crambidae) and a fruit borer (Olethreutidae). The other associated insects are being collected for future taxonomic and biology studies. At Bogotá savanna (Colombia), there are 41 associated insect species: Coleoptera (1 sp.), Diptera (3 spp.), Hemiptera (6 spp.), Homoptera (9 spp.), Hymenoptera (14 spp.), Lepidoptera (3 spp.), Neuroptera (2 spp.) and Thysanoptera (3 spp.). In addition, there are also three Acari species (Lee et al. 2000). In Nicaragua (Masaya National Park), the species observed to date include: Lepidoptera (1 sp.), Coleoptera (3 spp.), Homoptera (2 spp.) and Hymenoptera (3 spp) (Pedrosa-Macedo, personal notes, 2002). At Blumenau, SC (FURB) studies on associated insects and fungal diseases are being conducted (Prospodium 311

3 Proceedings of the XI International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds appendiculatum), while at Londrina (UEL), the studies include botanical and entomological aspects. Senecio (Asteraceae) in Brazil There are about 150 species of Senecio in Brazil, but the biennial S. heterotrichius, S. selloi, S. brasiliensis and the annual S. oxyphyllus are the most common in pastures (Karam et al. 2002). The most abundant potential control agents are: Pericopis sacrifica (Lepidoptera), Phaedon confinis, Agathomerus subfasciatus and Systena s-littera tenus (Coleoptera) (Pedrosa-Macedo et al. 2000, Karam et al. 2002). All these species are native to the regions of infestation. Thus, their use in an augmentation biological control program is limited because their natural enemies are also present. Potential control agents from other areas, including Longitarsus jacobaeae Waterhouse and L. flavicornis Stephens (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), could be used as a short cut project, as both are already used as biological control agents for Senecio jacobaea L. (Asteraceae) (tansy ragwort). Further evaluation depends on international cooperation. Psidium cattleianum (Myrtaceae) strawberry guava Strawberry guava is established in at least 31 countries (mostly islands) in the subtropical region (Wikler 1999). In the Hawaiian archipelago it is a significant weed of native forest, where it forms monotypic stands. Ecosystem disturbance, particularly by non-indigenous feral pigs, is the principal mechanism of establishment and intensification (Diong 1982). Manual control, though expensive, is feasible, but the ecological and often archaeological damage is unacceptable. Chemical control is increasingly difficult as more and more suitable herbicides become banned due to long-term undesirable ecological effects. Biological control is the last resort. Potential biological control agents have been discovered in the Atlantic Forest and associated areas in Brazil. They include, in order of suitability: Tectococcus ovatus (Homoptera: Eriococcidae); a leaf galler, Dasineura gigantea (Hymenoptera: Cecidomyiidae); a bud galler, Eurytoma psidii; and other gall-formers, either Eurytoma cattleianii or Eurytoma desantisi (Hymenoptera, Eurytomidae) (Angelo 1997, Vitorino 2001). Neotrioza tavaresi (Hemiptera: Psyllidae), another leaf galler, appears to have insufficient impact on the plants to be useful (Butignol & Pedrosa-Macedo 2001). None of the above species attack the congeneric P. guajava, an important agricultural fruit crop. The taxonomy of the P. cattleianum group needs further research. Field tests demonstrated that the yellow-fruited form of Psidium cattleianum and P. spathulatum are heavily attacked by T. ovatus, whereas the red-fruited form of P. cattleianum and P. longipetiolatum appear to be resistant. Insects are frequently extremely capable discriminators between species. It is somewhat incongruous that one form of a currently accepted species is not attacked by an insect, whereas another species is. Solanum mauritianum (Solanaceae) bugweed (fumo-bravo) This plant was taken to South Africa by Portuguese navigators in the 16 th century (Roe 1972, Olckers 1999). It is a significant weed in reafforestation, agriculture and conservation areas, urban space, river margins and road margins. It is listed as a Category I weed in the South African biological control program (Henderson 2001). The weevil Anthonomus morticinus Clark (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) from south-eastern Brazil is being studied on nine congeners: S. capsicoides, S. diflorum, S. fastigiatum, S. gilo, S. granulosoleprosum, Solanum melongena, S. palinacantum, S. tuberosum, and S. viarum. Field studies are conducted at various sites around Curitiba and laboratory and controlled environment studies at the Arboretum Juvevê. None of the above Solanum species is attacked by A. morticinus, except S. mauritianum and S. granuloso-leprosum. In no-choice tests in the laboratory, however, this weevil can feed on some of these species. Schinus terebinthifolius (Anacardiaceae) Brazilian peppertree (aroeira) Brazilian peppertree is an aggressive plant in Florida, USA, especially in the Everglades National Park, and also in the Hawaiian archipelago. It was brought to the USA as an ornamental plant in 1840 (Bennet & Habeck 1991) and again in 1891 (Workman 1978). It is native to southern Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina. It has been spread subsequently to several parts of the world, including American Samoa, Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia, Mauritius, Micronesia, Puerto Rico, and Tahiti. Four potential biological control agents are being studied: Heteroperreyia hubrichi (Hymenoptera: Pergidae), Calophya terebinthifolii (Homoptera: Psyllidae), Epsimus utilis (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) and Pseudophilothrips ichini (Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripidae). H. hubrichi was approved after host range tests in Florida, but not in Hawaii where it also attacks the endemic Rhus hawaiiensis. Its toxicity to wild animals and cattle is being evaluated because there are some suggestive reports from Australia. A preliminary test with a calf, where 100 final-instar larvae were mixed with the food, resulted in no signs of poisoning after 24 and 72 hours. The droughts associated with the El Niño phenomenon have resulted in a significant reduction in H. hubrichi populations, curtailing the program temporarily. We have not developed a reliable mass-rearing technology to date. The leaflet galler, C. terebinthifolii, has a disjunct distribution on the First Plateau of Paraná and the littoral area. There are different impacts in the two 312

4 Weed biocontrol in Paraná regions. Both of these results have caused some concern as to the suitability of this potential agent. Further studies on its biology, as well as captive rearing studies, are in progress. Epsimus utilis provides a reasonable degree of specificity to the Brazilian peppertree. Preliminary tests with E. utilis larvae on young Brazilian peppertree plants resulted in a mean biomass loss of 42% per leaflet, but the general impact of the larvae on the plant was not established; we have not developed a sufficiently robust means of evaluation. Pseudophilothrips ichini attacks Brazilian peppertree throughout its range, except in the littoral areas of Paraná, where it is rare. No-choice tests registered attacks on Mangifera indica, Anacardium ocidentale and Rhus sandwicensis (Anacardiaceae), but in multiple choice tests these species were not attacked. Two types of impact have been established: 11% reduction of plant growth and 45% increase in branching, causing excessive branching of the plant. P. ichini tests on the ornamental Schinus molle are being prepared. Tibouchina herbacea T. herbacea was introduced into Hawaii as an ornamental plant. It is originally from Brazil, and the main population occurs at Serra Gaucha, Rio Grande do Sul state, although it is known from other Brazilian states such as Santa Catarina and in the cerrado (Brazilian savanna) region (Mendonça et al. 1998). It belongs to a species complex whose systematics is unclear. Two closely related species, Tibouchina cerastifolia and T. gracilis, are common. Two other related species, Acisanthera variabilis and Rhyncanthera sp., are also frequent. All four species are attacked by at least three different species of as yet unidentified weevils. Among 35 insect species associated with ruderal herbaceous Melastomataceae, six are potential agents: Schrenkensteinia sp. (Lepidoptera: Schrenkensteinidae), whose presence was verified only in Rio Grande do Sul state, though Barreto (pers. comm.) recorded it in Minas Gerais; Syphrea uberabensis Bechyné (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae); Margaridisa sp. (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae); Lius sp. (Coleoptera: Buprestidae); an unidentified Geometridae caterpillar (Lepidoptera); and Anthonomus partiarius Boheman (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). The last insect was found on T. herbacea, T. cerastifolia and Acisanthera variabilis, feeding on flower buds, flowers, pollen and seeds. Studies on its biology, ecological behaviour and host range are being conducted. A. partiarius was not found on T. gracilis and Rhyncanthera sp. (Pedrosa-Macedo et al. 2000) Acknowledgements Thanks are due to: the Cooperative National Park Resources Studies Unit, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, USA; South Florida Water Management District, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences; Plant Protection Research Institute of Pietermarizburg, South Africa; Ministério do Meio Ambiente (MMA); Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq); and FUPEF-Fundação de Pesquisas Florestais do Paraná-Curitiba, Brazil, for financial and administration support. Thanks are also due to Clifford W. Smith, Dale H. Habeck, Stephen Hight, James P. Cuda, Julio Medal, Terry Olckers, Matheus Tracy Johnson, Marcelo Diniz Vitorino, Ayeres de Oliveira Menezes Jr., Charles Wikler, Cesar A. Butignol, Germano Henrique Rosado Neto, João Ricardo Dittrich, Lúcia Massutti de Almeida, Anamaria Dal Molin, Cecília Gonçalves Simões, Dalila Aparecida Harmuch, Deise Mari Barboza, Kelly Hacke Ribeiro, Lorena Stolle, Luizimir Eduardo Furmann, Marcelo Galeazzi Caxambu, Márcia Cristina Mendes Marques, Marcelo Mattos de Paula and Zildo Luiz Ramos for their considerable assistance. References Angelo, A.C. (1997) A galha dos botões do araçazeiro Psidium cattleianum Sabine (Myrtaceae), e insetos associados.curso de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Biológicas. M.Sc. Dissertation, Universidade Federal do Paraná. Bennet, F.D. & Habeck, D.H. (1991) Brazilian Peppertree Prospects for Biological Control in Florida. Proceedings of the Symposium on Exotic Pest Plants. Butignol, C.A. & Pedrosa-Macedo, J.H. (2001) Ocorrência de parasitóides em Neotrioza tavaresi Crawford (Hemiptera: Psyllidae), galhador da folha do araçazeiro, Psidium cattleianum (Myrtaceae). Abstract. Siconbiol VII Simpósio de Controle Biológico. p. 321, Poços de Caldas, MG. Carpanezzi, A.A., Ferreira, C.A., Rotta, E., Namikawa, I.S., Sturion, J.A., Pereira, J.C.D., Montagner, L.H., Rauen, M.J., Carvalho, P.E.R., Silveira, R.A. & Alves, S.T. (1986) Zoneamento ecológico para plantios florestais no Estado do Parana, EMBRAPA-CNPF, Documentos 17. Diong, C.H. (1982) Population biology and management of the feral pig (Sus scrofa) in Kipahulu Valley, Maui. Ph. D. dissertation. University of Hawaii, Honolulu. Karam, F.S.C., Méndez, M.C., Jarenkow, J.A. & Riet-Correa, F. (2002) Fenologia de quatro espécies tóxicas de Senecio (Asteraceae) na região Sul do Rio Grande do Sul. Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira 22, Kranz, W.M. & Passini, T. (1997) Amarelinho Biologia e Controle. Informe da Sano & Almeida (1998) Pesquisa. IAPAR, Londrina. XVII (121). Lee, R.A., Cure, J.R. & Pérez, M.M. (2000) Biodiversity and relative abundance of insects and spider mites in tree used as live fences in the Bogotá plateau. Revista Colombiana de Entomologia 26, Maack, R. (1968) Geografia Física do Estado do Paraná. CODEPAR, Curitiba, Brazil. Olckers, T. (1999) Biological control of Solanum mauritianum Scopoli (Solanaceae) in South Africa: a review of candidate agents, progress and future prospects. African Entomology Memoir 1, Pedrosa-Macedo, J.H., Wikler, C., Vitorino, M.D. & Smith, C.W. (2000) Current researches of Brazilian weeds in 313

5 Proceedings of the XI International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds Paraná state Biological control of weeds program, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil. Proceedings of the X International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds (ed N.R. Spencer), pp United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Services, Sidney, MT and Montana State University, Bozeman, MT. Pedrosa-Macedo, J.H. (2001) Convênios e Projetos sobre Controle Biológico de Plantas Relatório Anual. FUPEF Fundação de Pesquisas Florestais do Paraná. Curitiba, PR, Brasil. Roe, K.E. (1972) A revision of Solanum sect. Brevantherum (Solanaceae). Brittonia 24, Mendonça, R.C., Felfili, J.M., Walter, B.M.T., Silva-Jr., M.C., Rezende, A.V., Filgueiras, T. S. & Nogueira, P.E. (1998) Flora Vascular do Cerrado. Cerrado: Ambiente e Flora. (eds S.M. Sano& S.P. Almeida), pp , Planaltina, EMBRAPA CPAC. Vitorino, M.D. (2001) Aspectos biológicos e testes de especificidade e de reprodução com Heteroperreyia hubrichi Malaise, 1955 (Hymenoptera: Pergidae) para o controle biológico da aroeira, Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi (Anacardiaceae) no Estado da Flórida-EUA. Curso de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Biológicas. Doctoral thesis. Universidedade Federal do Paraná. Wikler, C. (1999) Distribuição geográfica mundial de Psidium cattleianum Sabine (Myrtaceae) e um cecidógeno com possibilidades de utilização em controle biológico. Doctoral thesis. Universidedade Federal do Paraná. Workman, R.W. (1978) History of Schinus in Florida. Schinus: Technical Proceedings of Techniques for Control of Schinus in South-Florida: A Workshop for Natural Area Managers. Sanibel-FL, The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. 314

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