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New Zealand Plant Protection 67 (2014): 330

Neolema ogloblini: exploring a new option for the control of tradescantia (Tradescantia fluminensis)

S.D. Jackman, P.G. Peterson and A.W. Robertson

ABSTRACT

The tradescantia leaf beetle (Neolema ogloblini) was released in 2011 as a biological control agent for tradescantia (Tradescantia fluminensis), one of New Zealand's worst environmental weeds. Tradescantia prevents native forest regeneration by growing over and shading out native seedlings at ground level. To assess N. ogloblini's effectiveness, a glasshouse experiment compared ground level light readings before and after beetle feeding and the response of two native seedlings, kawakawa (Macropiper excelsum) and mahoe (Melicytus ramiflorus). Feeding damage caused light readings to increase above 5% of fulllight, the threshold estimated as necessary for regeneration of native plants by previous research. This resulted in a significant increase in kawakawa seedling height and leaf length. This study suggests that native forest regeneration may benefit from feeding damage to tradescantia caused by N. ogloblini in the field.

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