Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR) Psidium cattleianum as a biocontrol target in Hawaii

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Information and references regarding Psidium cattleianum as a biocontrol target in Hawaii are provided here. For further information, contact webmaster@hear.org.

Biocontrol agent: ?
Status in Hawaii: (no status currently available; inquire)

Biocontrol agent: Dasineura gigantea
Status in Hawaii: The dipteran Dasineura gigantea infests terminal and lateral buds of flushing shoots of Psidium cattleianum (strawberry guava) causing the formation of bud galls, precocious developments of the bud that terminate shoot growth. This agent was considered promising because it stunts the strawberry guava trees and has a wide ecological range.

Biocontrol agent: Eurytoma cattleianii
Status in Hawaii: Eurytoma cattleianii (Hymenoptera, Eurvtomidae) from Brazil was under consideration as a potential biological control agent for Psidium cattleianum (strawberry guava). It attacks emerging shoots producing a gall at the base of the shoot. At the end of the growing season the shoot distal to the gall dies, terminating growth of that branch and stunting the plant. The species is confined to the higher elevations (800-1,100 m) of Parana State, Brazil. Its potential as a biocontrol may be limited because researchers have not been able to culture the insect in controlled conditions, and coordinating the availability of insects with plants with flushing shoots at the proper stage of development would be difficult.

Biocontrol agent: Eurytoma desantisi
Status in Hawaii: Eurytoma desantisi (Hymenoptera, Eurvtomidae) causes galls at the base of shoots of strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum), inhibiting the development of flower buds and eventually causing death to the shoots. The insect is found in Parana State (800-1100m), Brazil, and has been considered as a biocontrol agent for strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum). Difficulties raising the insect in controlled conditions may limit its potential as a biological control agent. Eurytoma desantisi is species-specific. It attacks the yellow and red fruited forms of strawberry guava, with preference for the red form. The insect's adaptation for higher elevations may be advantageous since Psidium cattleianum has been especially invasive in the higher elevations in Hawaii.

Biocontrol agent: Eurytoma psidii
Status in Hawaii: Eurytoma psidii (Hymenoptera, Eurytomidae) from Brazil has been studied as a potential biocontrol for strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum) in Hawaii. The insect deposits eggs in strawberry guava's flower buds and its larvae form galls within the seeds as fruit develop, resulting in fruits with a lumpy, blotched appearance. Seeds within the galled fruit do not germinate. The insect will attack strawberry guava throughout its ecological range, but only 10-50% of the fruit are attacked. Raising the insect in quarantine then coordinating its release with guava flowering would be problematic.

Biocontrol agent: Haplostegus epimelas
Status in Hawaii: Haplostegus epimelas (Hymenoptera, Pergidae) is a sawfly from Brazil that was considered as a biocontrol for strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum). The sawfly lays its eggs on the strawberry guava's leaves. Fungal infection that occurs as a consequence of oviposition and the presence of young nymphs kill young shoots. Later instars of the fly consume leaves, causing defoliation. The sawfly is no longer considered as a biocontrol agent because it also attacks cultivated guava (Psidium guajava), although those attacks are rare.

Biocontrol agent: Lamprosoma azureum
Status in Hawaii: Lamprosoma azureum (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae) was studied as a potential biocontrol of strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum). The larvae and adults feed on the bark of young plants, often girdling and stunting the plant and leaving it susceptible to pathogens. This chrysomelid is confined to the upper elevations above 650m. This insect is no longer under consideration as a biocontrol for strawberry guava because it is not host specific, but attacks other Myrtaceae including Surinam cherry (Eugenia uniflora) and commercial guava (Psidium guajava).

Biocontrol agent: Neotriza tavaresi
Status in Hawaii: Neotrioza tavaresi (Hemiptera, Psyllidae) from Brazil is found throughout the range of strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum). This insect causes leaf galls on strawberry guava and was historically considered as a potential biocontrol agent for that species. The insect is no longer under consideration because the damage it causes is not generally sufficient to cause premature leaf drop or reduction in plant growth or flowering.

Biocontrol agent: Tectococcus ovatus
Status in Hawaii: Tectococcus ovatus (Homoptera, Eriococcidae) has been deemed the most promising of the biocontrol agents considered for the control of strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum). The insect is host specific, causing galls on leaves and causing leaves to age prematurely, and decreasing vigor and flowering on infected plants. It is also easy to culture and handle and can produce multiple generations per year. In 2005, after 15 years of research in Hawaii and Brazil, researchers with the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry (IPIF) petitioned for field release of the scale insect for control of strawberry guava. A federal Environmental Assessment was completed and permits secured from Hawaii Department of Agriculture and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. An Environmental Assessment with the state of Hawaii was initiated. Public reaction to the proposed release of Tectococcus ovatus has been mixed. Some opponents fear the loss of strawberry guava as a food source. Others suggest the scale insect could mutate and attack native ohia (Metrosideros polymorpha ) which is in the same family as strawberry guava. In March, 2009, the Maui County Council unanimously adopted a resolution supporting "safe, effective biological control for Maui County's forest pests" including strawberry guava. In contrast, in August 2009 on Hawaii Island, the Hawaii County Council approved (6-3) a resolution requesting a "ban on the release of biological control agents on the Island of Hawaii...for any tree species related to the ohia Metrosideros polymorpha including all species of the family Myrtaceae such as the strawberry guava." The Hawaii County Council's resolution has effectively stalled the release of Tectococcus ovatus. However, in June 2010, a draft environmental impact statement has been released as part of the process to continue to approve the release of Tectococcus ovatus in Hawaii. See the Strawberry Guava Biocontrol website (http://www.strawberryguavabiocontrol.org/) for more information.

The Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk (HEAR) project is currently funded by the Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) of the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) through PIERC (USGS) with support from HCSU (UH Hilo). More details are available online. Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN)National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII)

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This page was created on 04 August 2009 by PT, and was last updated on 21 July 2010 by PT. Valid HTML 4.01!