iology and Host Specificity of Melittia oedipus (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae), a Biological Control Agent of Coccinia grandis (Cucurbitaceae)

Chun, Marianne E.
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Hawaiian Entomological Society
A discussion of the host range testing and a brief description of the biology of Melittia oedipus Oberthiir (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae) are presented. This clearwing moth was introduced into Hawaii from Kenya to combat ivy gourd, Coccinia grandis (L.) Voigt (Cucurbitaceae), a noxious vine of East African origin. Host range testing consisted of two parts: exposure of potted plants to adult M. oedipus to test oviposition preference, and placement of fertile eggs or neonate larvae on plants to test larval feeding and development. Test results indicated that M. oedipus is specific to ivy gourd. In larval feeding tests, a very small number of adults completed development on cu cumber (Cucumis sativus) vines. However, oviposition choice tests showed that under field conditions, M. oedipus females would be highly unlikely to lay eggs on cucum ber. Since M. oedipus was released on the island of Oahu in 1996, there has been no record of attack on cucumber or any other nontarget plant.
biological control
Proc Haw Ent Soc 35: 85-93 (2001)
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