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Re-confirming Host Specificity of the Fire Ant Decapitating Fly Pseudacteon curvatus (Diptera: Phoridae) after Field Release in Florida

Florida Entomologist
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  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Geography


Scientific Notes 107 RE-CONFIRMING HOST SPECIFICITY OF THE FIRE ANT DECAPITATING FLY PSEUDACTEON CURVATUS (DIPTERA: PHORIDAE) AFTER FIELD RELEASE IN FLORIDA R ICARDO J. V AZQUEZ 1,2 * AND S ANFORD D. P ORTER 1 1 Center for Medical, Agricultural & Veterinary Entomology, USDA-ARS P.O. Box 14565, 1600 SW 23rd Dr., Gainesville, FL 32604, USA 2 University of Florida, Department of Entomology & Nematology, P.O. Box 110620, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA *Author for correspondence Critics of biological control programs have ar- gued that there is a lack of post-release monitor- ing on nontarget effects arising from released exotic insects. Howarth (1991) stated that nega- tive environmental impacts of biological control introductions have not been well documented. Similarly, others have complained that releases of nonindigenous species on target organisms have led to reduction in populations of nontarget spe- cies due to inappropriate protocols on host speci- ficity of these nonindigenous species (Barron et al. 2003; Civeyrel & Simberloff 1996; Hopper 2001; Howarth 1991; Secord & Kareiva 1996; Simberloff & Stiling 1996a, b). However, in spite of these criticisms the biocontrol community ap- pears to have a good record of environmental safety (Lindgren 2003; McEvoy et al. 1991). Sim- ilarly, Pemberton (2000) analyzed works dealing with 117 natural enemies of 55 weed species and found that only 1 natural enemy completes devel- opment in a nontarget plant. A significant prob- lem appears to be that biocontrol practicioners have not always done an adequate job of docu- menting the post establishment host specificity of organisms that they release. However, this problem is beginning to be recti- fied. For example, post-release monitoring has been done for releases of the chrysomelid beetle Galerucella calmariensis on purple loosestrife Lythrum sa

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