Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Inadvertent biological control: an Australian thrips killing an invasive New Zealand tree in California

Citation

Sullivan, Jon J. (2013), Data from: Inadvertent biological control: an Australian thrips killing an invasive New Zealand tree in California, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.f4392

Abstract

Transport hubs of international trade and tourism are sites of unprecedented long-distance dispersal of species and novel ecological interactions. In cases of invasive plants released from their specialist natural enemies, novel interactions with both resident enemies and new arrivals can accumulate and potentially reduce weed competitiveness. I present here one dramatic example of this, where an invasive woody weed in southern California is being rapidly controlled by an accidentally introduced genus-specialist herbivorous insect. The New Zealand native shrub/small tree, Myoporum laetum, is a long-time popular ornamental plant in California and has become an invasive woody weed. In 2005, a Myoporum-specific thrips, Klambothrips myopori, was discovered (and described) in California feeding on M. laetum leaves. Several searches have failed to find K. myopori in New Zealand and a population has recently been discovered in Tasmania, Australia, feeding on Myoporum insulare. In 5 years, K. myopori has killed off about half of southern Californian M. laetum with almost all surviving individuals being gradually defoliated. Inadequate border biosecurity has resulted in inadvertent biological control, in a rapid timeframe, caused by a novel enemy. Unfortunately, K. myopori has subsequently been accidentally transported from California to Hawaii where it is now killing off Hawaiian native Myoporum sandwicense. Transport hubs can both connect weeds with natural enemies and disperse those enemies more widely.

Usage Notes

Location

USA
Orange County
Los Angeles
California
North America