Host specifity of Hypena opulenta and Abrostola asclepiadis to Vincetoxicum spp.

Alexander F Hazlehurst, University of Rhode Island


Two species of European swallow-wort, Vincetoxicum nigrum and Vincetoxicum rossicum, have become increasingly invasive in North America, where there are no effective arthropod herbivores to suppress populations and deter further spread. The use of conventional control methods has largely been unsuccessful in managing established infestations, and biological control appears to be the best option. Two European leaf-feeding moths, Hypena opulenta and Abrostola asclepiadis, were evaluated using no-choice larval development tests to determine their host range. Host range testing was completed and revealed that the larvae of H. opulenta and A. asclepiadis are monophagous on Vincetoxicum spp. Both insect species caused extensive defoliation of V. nigrum and V. rossicum under laboratory conditions in quarantine, and it is expected that these species would adversely impact plants under field conditions with repeated defoliation under variable light conditions and in the presence of competing plant species. The results prompted this proposal to petition for the release of H. opulenta as a biological control agent for V. rossicum and V. nigrum on Naushon Island, MA in 2012 and A. asclepiadis on Conanicut Island, RI in 2013.

Subject Area

Entomology|Environmental science

Recommended Citation

Alexander F Hazlehurst, "Host specifity of Hypena opulenta and Abrostola asclepiadis to Vincetoxicum spp." (2011). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI1497502.