Temperature-dependent development, cold tolerance, and potential distribution of Gratiana boliviana (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), a biological control agent of tropical soda apple, Solanum viarum (Solanaceae)

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The leaf beetle Gratiana boliviana Spaeth (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) was introduced from South America into the southeastern United States in 2003 as a classical biological control agent of tropical soda apple, Solanum viarum Dunal (Solanaceae). Temperature-dependent development and survival studies revealed that development was completed at temperatures >16°C and ≤34°C. The number of degree-days required to complete one generation was 341 and the estimated lower developmental threshold was 13.37°C. Using nonlinear regression, the upper lethal threshold was estimated to be 34-35°C. Cold tolerance studies revealed that the lethal time for 90% of adults (LT90) was 12.6 days at 5°C and 8.68 days at 0°C. Based on the developmental and cold tolerance data, a map predicting the areas of establishment and number of generations per year was generated, which suggests that the northern extent of the G. boliviana range in the USA will be near 32-33° north latitude. Fewer generations per year in more northern areas of the southeastern USA may decrease the effectiveness of this biological control agent. © 2008 Taylor & Francis.

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Biocontrol Science and Technology

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