A new candidate biocontrol agent for the control of Pereskia in SA
Lumka Mdodana - Rhodes University
Pereskia aculeata is an invasive alien cactus species in South Africa. Phenrica guerini is the only biological control agent that has been released against Pereskia aculeata but other agents are required to manage this species at acceptable levels.
Catorhintha schaffneri is a new biological control agent currently under review and if accepted it will be released later this year.
A species of weevil in the tribe Cryptorhhynchinae is another promising candidate that was collected from Brazil in 2012. This species is currently being described and will be placed in a new genus.
The adults of Pereskiophaga sp. feed on leaves and shoot tips of Pereskia aculeata and the larvae mine inside the stems destroying the vascular tissue.