Evaluation of mortality factors using life table analysis of Gratiana boliviana, a biological control agent of tropical soda apple in Florida

Document Type


Publication Date



Tropical soda apple (TSA), Solanum viarum Dunal (Solanaceae), has invaded many pastures and natural areas in Florida. The biological control agent Gratiana boliviana Spaeth (Coleoptera:Chrysomelidae) is providing adequate control of TSA stands in South and Central Florida. However, poor or no establishment of this agent has occurred in northern Florida. The goal of this study was to examine the mortality factors that influence the population dynamics of G. boliviana in Florida. Horizontal life tables were constructed by following cohorts of individuals in the laboratory and inside closed and open cages at field sites in Central and North Florida. Fertility life table parameters were estimated using laboratory and field data. In addition, as part of a vertical life table analysis, TSA plants were sampled every two weeks in pastures in Central Florida, and counts of all G. boliviana and other herbivores and predators were recorded. Survival to adulthood was similar between Central and North Florida (open cages: 12-19%). Intrinsic mortality (laboratory data) and biotic factors (predation) together accounted for 75% of the mortality of immature stages. Survival of beetles in a natural population determined from vertical life tables was 5%. A complex of three mirid species (Engytatus modesta Distant, Tupiocoris notatus Distant, and Macrolophus sp.) were the most abundant predators found in the field, and are known to feed on G. boliviana eggs and larvae. Positive growth rates (rm=0.3) during the summer and early fall allow the beetle population to increase and provide suppression of TSA in Central Florida. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Biological Control

First Page


Last Page


This document is currently not available here.