Chinese privet, Ligustrum sinense Lour., is a perennial semi-evergreen shrub that is a serious invasive weed in the United States. Classical biological control offers the best hope for controlling it in an economic, effective, and persistent way. Host specificity of one of the most promising biological control agents of Chinese privet, a flea beetle, Argopistes tsekooni Chen (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), was evaluated in China by using laboratory no-choice and choice tests on 13 species of Oleaceae and eight species in other families that have important economic value. In adult no-choice survival and oviposition tests, the flea beetle fed and survived for 30 d on Syringa oblata Lindl., Jasminum nudiflorum Lindl., and three species in the genus Ligustrum. Females also oviposited on these species, but only larvae from eggs laid on S. oblata and Ligustrum spp. developed successfully. In addition, the beetles did not feed or oviposit on the species of economic importance. In choice tests, adults preferred L. sinense for feeding and oviposition. These results show that A. tsekooni is relatively host specific and warrants further testing as a biocontrol agent of Chinese privet in the United States.
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Vol. 101 • No. 4