Insects Attacking Passiflora mollissima and Other Passiflora Species; Field Survey in the Andes

Pemberton, Robert W.
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Hawaiian Entomological Society
A two and one half month exploration for insects of Passiflora mollissima (H.B.K.) Bailey, a problem weed of Hawaiian forests, was made in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. The "Hawaiian type" or P. mollisiima was frequently encountered. This form appeared to be within a range of variation expressed in P. mollissima in the Andes. Although an assemblage of insects was observed feeding on P. mollissima and other Andean Passiflora species of the subgenus Tarsonia, the fauna was found to be poor in species when compared to the faunas of the tropical lowland Passiflora. Few of the Passiflora specialist insect groups of the lowlands have moved up to use highland species and there is little indication that Passiflora specialist groups have developed in the Andes. The most damaging insect found during the survey was Pyrausta perelegans Hampson (Pyralidae). Its larvae, like those of the stamen feeding flies seen on the survey (prob. Dasiops spp., Lonchaeidae. and Zapriothrica salebrosa Wheeler, Drosophilidae), feed within the flower buds causing them to abort. There was much less flowering and fruiting of P. mollissima in the Andes than in Hawaii. Since these flower bud feeders may be responsible for the difference, they could prove useful in limiting the spread of the plant in Hawaii. More exploration is needed to discover organisms capable of reducing the existing stands of P. mollissima in Hawaii.
Pemberton RW. 1989. Insects attacking Passiflora mollissima and other Passiflora species; field survey in the Andes. Proc Hawaiian Entomol Soc 29:71-84.
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