Using simulated herbivory to predict the efficacy of a biocontrol agent: the effect of manual defoliation and Macaria pallidata Warren (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) herbivory on Mimosa pigra seedlings
Australian journal of entomology 45(4): 324-326
The effect of manual defoliation, and real and simulated herbivory by the leaf-feeding moth Macaria pallidata on the growth and biomass of Mimosa pigra seedlings was assessed to determine the likely success of defoliating herbivores as biocontrol agents against the weed. Manual removal of at least half of all leaf material, maintained over a 6-week period, significantly suppressed plant growth, as did a single week of herbivory by M. pallidata larvae. This suggests that M. pallidata and other defoliators have the potential to be highly successful agents in the biological control program for M. pigra.