Biological Studies of Bagous Hydrillae
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE GAINESVILLE FL
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Bageous hydrillae is a small Australian weevil that extensively damages hydrilla in its native environment. Adults feed externally on submersed stems and leaves and on freshly stranded plants along shore. Immatures develop inside submersed stems that break away after being cut by adult feeding and float to shore where the immatures complete their development. This species was imported into quarantine in 1987 as Bagous australasiae Blackburn. Later, Dr. C. W. OBrien compared it with type specimens in the British Museum and determined that is was a new species. Studies have shown that field populations are stenophagous, with hydrilla being the primary host plant. Development in the laboratory was restricted to hydrilla and some of its relatives. It is believed that this weevil will be highly destructive to hydrilla with little risk to native plant populations, During 7 years of foreign exploration, no other insect species was found to be as damaging to native populations of hydrilla.