Potential for negative interactions between successful arthropod and weed biological control programs: A case study with Lilioceris species

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Successful biological control programs can have landscape-level effects on the management of intractable arthropod pests and weeds, improving ecosystem services and reducing both management costs and the widespread use of pesticides. However, biotic resistance can prevent biological control agents from establishing or limit their efficacy. We assessed the potential for biological control agents of the pest Lilioceris lilii, the lily leaf beetle, to attack L. cheni, a weed biological control agent for Dioscorea bulbifera, air potato. Both the suite of parasitoid biological control agents and L. cheni are contributing to the successful management of their respective targets. Thus, negative interactions between these species could potentially disrupt two effective biological control programs if range overlap occurs. Choice and no-choice tests were conducted with all three parasitoid species and the target and non-target beetles, and a phylogenetic tree was constructed to assess the relatedness of the Lilioceris species. The parasitoids displayed a clear preference for their host, L. lilii, and did not successfully parasitize L. cheni. Although interference between arthropod and weed biological control programs is not likely to be a common occurrence, practitioners in both subdisciplines should be cognizant of this possibility as new agents are developed.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Biological Control