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Redistribution of the gorse soft shoot moth, Agonopterix umbellana (Fabricius), for the biological control of gorse in Australia


Ireson, J and Holloway, R, Redistribution of the gorse soft shoot moth, Agonopterix umbellana (Fabricius), for the biological control of gorse in Australia, Proceedings of the 19th Australasian Weeds Conference, 1-4 September 2014, Hobart, Australia, pp. 46-49. ISBN 978-0-646-92454-0 (2014) [Refereed Conference Paper]


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The gorse soft shoot moth, Agonopterix umbellana, was released at Lake Tiberias near Jericho, Tasmania, in 2007 for the biological control of gorse. By December 2011, the presence of high larval densities enabled the site to be used as a nursery to collect and redistribute the agent. In Tasmania, the only suitable collection times for A. umbellana are in early summer (December) when 46th instar larvae are active and in February and March when adults are active. Two collection techniques were used, the first involved the harvesting of new gorse growth infested with larvae and a second used a bee smoker to flush sheltering, newly emerged adults from within gorse bushes into a collection tent. These two techniques maximised the limited collection opportunities imposed by the univoltine life cycle of A. umbellana. Preliminary surveys indicated that establishment was achievable from open releases of either 200 adults or 500 larvae during summer. However, the collection of larvae was far less labour intensive and easiest for redistribution programmes involving landholders and Landcare groups. Four agents, including A. umbellana, have now been released for the biological control of gorse in Australia and none are, by themselves, lethal to mature gorse plants. No additional agents are currently available. Further research will be required to determine the combined effect that the available guild of agents have on annual seed production, whether they have sub-lethal effects on plant age and whether they increase the susceptibility of gorse to fungal attack. Formulating an appropriate integrated management strategy using these agents will also require additional research.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Conference Paper
Keywords:redistribution, biological control, Agonopterix umbellana, gorse
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Terrestrial ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Ireson, J (Dr John Ireson)
ID Code:99381
Year Published:2014
Deposited By:Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Deposited On:2015-03-23
Last Modified:2016-07-19
Downloads:75 View Download Statistics

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