Waterhyacinth (WH), Eichhornia crassipes, is a floating macrophyte, perennial and one of the worst aquatic weed worldwide because its aggressive growing and dispersion ability. WH was brought to the whole world from South America as ornamental and thus has become an invasive species. In 1968 started the investigations in our laboratory to identify and study the insects associated with WHto initiate a biological control program in Florida, USA.
As result of these research 6 biocontrol agents were developed and are use at present: Orthogalumna terebrantis(Acari: Galumnidae), Neochetina eichorniae (Col., Curculionidae), Neochetina bruchi (Col., Curculionidae), Niphograpta albiguttalis (Lep., Crambidae), Xubida infusella(Lep., Crambidae) y Megamelus scutellaris(Hemip., Delphacidae).
Other insects are being studied as potential biocontrol agents: Taosa longula, Taosa sp. (Hemiptera) y Thrypticus truncatus (Diptera).
Research on waterhyacinth ecology and associated insects in wetlands of Río de la Plata.
In order to broaden waterhyacinth management strategies, plant ecology and its associated herbivores are studied. Special attention is paid to the leafhopper Taosa longula.
-Paul Pratt, ARS-EIWRU, Albany, California, EE.UU.
-Angela Bownes and Costas Zachariades, PPRI, South Africa.