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Past and present initiatives on the biological control of Lantana camara (Verbenaceae) in South Africa

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1999
Authors:J. R. Baars, Neser S.
Journal:African Entomology Memoir
Keywords:biological weed control, host-specificity testing, Lantana camara, Lippia, natural enemies, varieties

Lantana camara, a highly invasive weed in many countries, has been targeted for biological control in South Africa since the early 1960s. An earlier review in 1991 indicated that, despite the establishment of several natural enemy species, the programme has largely been unsuccessful. In this paper we review initiatives undertaken during the 1990s and discuss (i) the status of thenatural enemies established on the weed, (ii) factors that have limited the impact of the seagents, (iii) the potential of eleven new biocontrol candidates currently under evaluation for release and (iv) the problem of expanded host ranges of imported natural enemies under laboratory conditions. Ultimately, the success of the programme will depend on the establishment of asuite of natural enemies, attacking several parts of the weed, which are able to cope with the extreme variability and wide distribution of L. camara in South Africa. Despite the problems associated with the programme, L. camara remains a candidate for biological control in South Africa.

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