Project 5

Distribution and spread of the melaleuca weevil, Oxyops vitiosa

In early stages of a weed biological control program the geographic distribution is generally limited to initial release localities of the natural enemy. However, as target weeds deteriorate or otherwise become unsuitable, the agent is forced to disperse and its distribution increases. The boundaries for the biological control agent's dispersal are delineated by the distribution of the host plant, which is dynamic and poorly understood for most invasive plant systems.

Therefore, evaluating the biological control agent's rate of spread and quantifying the fluctuating distribution of the target weed are integral to assessing distribution in space and time. Herein, we report our efforts at quantifying the first geographic distribution and rate of spread for Oxyops vitiosa (Pascoe), a classical biological control agent of the invasive Australian tree Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) S.T. Blake.

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