Quarantine evaluation of Eucryptorrhynchus brandti (Harold) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), a potential biological control agent of tree-of-heaven, Ailanthus altissima in Virginia, USA

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Virginia Tech

Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle is a tree native to Asia that was intentionally introduced into the United States in the late eighteenth century. Ailanthus altissima has become an invasive species that has spread throughout most of North America. Lack of effective management tactics for suppression of A. altissima has lead to alternate control methods. Investigations into using biological control with the weevil Eucryptorrhynchus brandti were initiated in 2004. Studies were conducted to understand the general biology of E. brandti, rearing efficacy, and host specificity. Eucryptorrhynchus brandti is univoltine, has a life cycle similar to the closely related species Cryptorhynchus lapathi (L.), with 6 instars, and completes development in 126 ± 6.5 d at 25°C. Efficient egg to adult rearing was accomplished by caging 12 m and 12 f for 7 days on 23 – 92 cm long billets. Males and females can be differentiated by the structure of the metathoracic sternite and 1st abdominal segment. Host specificity experiments show that E. brandti preferentially feeds on North American A. altissima when tested against 29 species from 14 families. Larval development in the rare species Leitneria floridana Chapm. was apparent. Additional studies show that A. altissima does not occur across L. floridana distribution but may have the potential to invade L. floridana sites.

Leitneria floridana, biological control, invasive species, insect rearing, host range testing, Ailanthus altissima, Eucryptorrhynchus brandti