Document Type

Peer-Review Article


Purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria, is an exotic invasive weed which is currently the target of a biological control effort using introduced leaf-feeding beetles. In 1997-1998 we observed larvae of the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar feeding on L. salicaria at several locations in south central Michigan. In one-minute timed counts conducted over a six-week period in 1998, densities of 0 to 8 larvae per 1-m2 quadrat were observed. Other observations indicated 23 L. dispar 2nd and 3rd instars on a single L. salicaria plant. Second and third instar L. dispar collected on L. salicaria in the field were successfully reared to the adult stage in the lab on a diet of L. salicaria foliage. This is the first report of L. dispar feeding and development on L. salicaria. In areas where they co-occur, distinguishing L. dispar damage from that of introduced natural enemies will be important so that estimates of biocontrol agent impact are not biased.

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Entomology Commons