Many members of the tribe Cardueae are invasive weeds, including yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis L.), one of the most important weeds in the Western United States. We examined the root crowns and stems of yellow starthistle and related plants growing in five countries (Armenia, Republic of Georgia, Greece, Russia, and Turkey) where yellow starthistle is native. In its native range, the root crowns and lower stems of yellow starthistle are frequently attacked by the internal feeding larvae of apionid weevils. We present illustrations and a key to the adults of the six apionid species that we reared from yellow starthistle and its relatives: Ceratapion basicorne (Illiger), C. carduorum (Kirby), C. gibbirostre (Gyllenhal), C. onopodri (Kirby), C. orientale (Gerstaecker), and C. penetrans (Germar). The only apionid we reared from yellow starthistle was C. basicorne. In Turkey, where we collected most intensively, 58% of the yellow starthistle at 20 sites had larvae of this weevil, and at sites where C. basicorne was present, there were an average of 1.8 immatures per yellow starthistle plant. This apionid is currently being further researched for its potential as a biological control agent for yellow starthistle.
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