Temperature-dependent development, diapause and cold tolerance of Gratiana graminea, a potential biological control agent of Solanum viarum in Florida, USA

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The objectives of this study were to examine temperature-dependent development, diapause and cold tolerance of Gratiana graminea Klug (Chrysomelidae), a candidate biological control agent of tropical soda apple, Solanum viarum Dunal (Solanaceae). Immature development was examined at six constant temperatures ranging from 15°C to 30°C. Diapause induction was determined by exposing adults to either long or short photoperiods at 20°C and cold tolerance was assessed by exposing adults to 0°C. G. graminea completed development at temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C. Linear regression estimated a lower temperature threshold of 11.7°C and 312 degree-days were required to complete development. Diapause was induced when adults were exposed to short photoperiods (10:14 L:D h) at 20°C. The lethal times for diapausing adults of G. graminea at 0°C (LT 50 = 19 days, LT 90 = 41 days) were two times higher compared to Gratiana boliviana Spaeth, a biological control agent already established in south and central Florida, USA. The presence of diapause and the greater cold tolerance suggest that G. graminea may establish and perform better than G. boliviana in northern Florida. © 2012 International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC).

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