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The biology of Dasineura dielsi Rübsaamen (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) in relation to the biological control of Acacia cyclops (Mimosaceae) in South Africa

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Acacia cyclops is an invasive Australian tree in South Africa and a target for biological control using seed-reducing agents. In southern Australia, two gall-forming Cecidomyiidae, Dasineura dielsi (Small Fluted Galler) and Asphondylia sp., develop on the flowers and seeds of A. cyclops, respectively. The larvae of D. dielsi form woody fluted galls on the ovaries of flowers and prevent the development of fruit. Immature Asphondylia sp. develop in the loculi of green fruit and destroy developing seeds. Dasineura dielsi was selected as a biological control candidate for A. cyclops in South Africa and was approved for official release after host specificity evaluation and consideration of potential conflicts of interest. Dasineura dielsi naturalised in South Africa in 2001 and after 3 years dispersed up to 450 km from a single population at Stellenbosch, Western Cape. At sites where D. dielsi has been present longest, high gall densities occur on A. cyclops during the peak flower season in summer. Four hymenopterans, ?Synopeas sp., Mesopolobus sp., Torymus sp. and an unidentified Platygastridae, were reared from D. dielsi galls and are suspected parasitoids of the cecidomyiid, with incidence levels less than 10%. Monitoring is required to evaluate trends in the population status of D. dielsi, its parasitoids and seed production of A. cyclops. Importantly, field monitoring should determine the extent and nature of possible competitive interactions between D. dielsi and an introduced seed-feeding weevil, Melanterius servulus.
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Keywords: Asphondylia; Australia; biocontrol; biological control agent; gall midge

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2005

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