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1 December 2006 Influence of Herbivory and Competition on Invasive Weed Fitness: Observed Effects of Cyphocleonus achates (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) and Grass-Seeding Treatments on Spotted Knapweed Performance
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Abstract

The root-feeding weevil Cyphocleonus achates (Fahraeus) is a promising biological control agent for managing the exotic, invasive weed spotted knapweed. The objective of this study was to compare the relative and potentially interactive effects of competition and specialized herbivory on spotted knapweed fitness. Competition was assessed through three grass seeding treatments: a nonseeded control and seeding to long-lived wheatgrasses originating either from North America, Pseudoroegneria spicata (Pursh) A. Löve ssp. spicata, or Europe, Thinopyrum intermedium (Host) Barkworth and D.R. Dewey. Comparisons were made of above-ground biomass, stem length, number of flowers, and life stage densities for spotted knapweed plants either infested or free of C. achates and growing under one of the grass seeding treatments. Infested adult spotted knapweed plants had lower shoot weight, stem length, and flowers/plant. The density of adult spotted knapweed plants was lower in grass-seeded plots than in nonseeded control plots. Results indicate C. achates herbivory is correlated with a reduction in measures of fitness and reproductive potential in field populations of spotted knapweed in North America. Furthermore, these results suggest that this agent might play a significant role in reducing spotted knapweed populations when competitive grasses are also present.

JAMES S. JACOBS, Sharlene E. Sing, and John M. Martin "Influence of Herbivory and Competition on Invasive Weed Fitness: Observed Effects of Cyphocleonus achates (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) and Grass-Seeding Treatments on Spotted Knapweed Performance," Environmental Entomology 35(6), (1 December 2006). https://doi.org/10.1603/0046-225X(2006)35[1590:IOHACO]2.0.CO;2
Received: 31 December 2005; Accepted: 6 August 2006; Published: 1 December 2006
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