Frugivory of Neosilba Species (Diptera: Lonchaeidae) and Thepytus echelta (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) on Psittacanthus (Santalales: Loranthaceae) in Ecotonal Cerrado-South Pantanal, Brazil

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2012
Authors:M. A. N. O. E. L. A. UCHOA, Caires, C. S., Nicácio, J. N., Duarte, M.
Journal:Florida Entomologist

A survey of the insects that feed on fruits of Psittacanthus martius (Santalales: Loranthaceae), a hemiparasitic mistletoe genus that infects trees in Brazil and other neotropical countries. The aim of the study was to identify candidate insects for biological control of Psittacanthus mistletoes. Unripe and mature fruits were collected in several localities of Cerrado, bordering South Pantanal, Southwestern Brazil, from 29 Apr 1998 to 30 Jul 2000. A total of 24,710 fruits (54 samples) of Psittacanthus acinarius infecting 15 species from 10 plant families were evaluated. Psittacanthus acinarius (Mart.) was the most abundant and frequent species of mistletoe parasitizing trees in the ecotonal Cerrado-Pantanal. From 24,710 fruits of Psittacanthus acinarius were obtained 1,812 insect larvae including 1,806 Neosilba McAlpine (Diptera: Lonchaeidae) species and 6 Thepytus echelta (Hewitson) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). From these emerged 1,550 Neosilba spp. adults and 6 T. echelta. Neosilba pantanense Strikis was described from this research. Larvae of T. echelta occurred in fruits of P. acinarius parasitizing Cecropia pachystachya Trécul (Urticaceae) and Anadenanthera colubrina (Vellozo) Brenan (Fabaceae). Larvae of Neosilba caused no adverse effects on the germination of infected fruits of Psittacanthus, because they do not eat the embryo or viscin tissues. This differs from the larvae of T. echelta that interrupted the germination of seeds by feeding on those tissues. Thepytus echelta may be a promising insect for the biological control of P. acinarius in the ecotonal Cerrado-Pantanal, although its abundance and frequency were low throughout the sampling period.

Refereed Designation:Refereed
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