HYPENA OPULENTA: A BIOLOGICAL WEED CONTROL AGENT FOR CONTROLLING AN INVASIVE WEED SPECIES, SWALLOW-WORT: A REVIEW

Journal: Environmental Contaminants Reviews (ECR)
Author: Rupak Karn, Amrita Paudel, Sagar Pandey

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited

Doi:10.26480/ecr.01.2020.01.03

ABSTRACT
Biological weed control agents are eco-friendly measures of controlling various weed species. They are the living organisms which kill or suppress the growth of another organism. This paper aims at organizing the scientific research finding and providing information about biological control of an invasive weed species, Swallowwort of Southern Ottawa region of Canada. Hypena opulenta, leaf feeding moth (Lepidoptera: Erebidae) is an effective bio-agent for controlling invasive plant species, Swallowwort (Vincetoxicum). Vincetoxicum is native to Mediterranean regions of France, Italy, and Spain and typically grows in calcareous soils on forested slopes. It was introduced to North America (Ontario, Canada) in 19th century. It is found in wide range of habitat that is from agricultural field to the forests and plantations making several adverse impacts in the respective ecosystems of the region. Overwintering Pupa of Leaf feeding moth emerges as an adult and starts laying eggs after 2 days. Eggs are deposited on upper or under side of the main vein and petioles of leaves. Larvae of H. opulenta feed exclusively on newly expanded leaves of the plant for completion of its developmental cycle. Though the larvae show the minimal feeding on other plants but they necessarily require Vincetoxicum species as a host for completion of their life stages. Before releasing larvae of H. opulenta for control of Vincetoxicum in the field they were tested in the lab for host specificity and environmental safety. Larvae of H. opulenta can spread up to the distance of 100 m from release site and control the growth of swallow-wort by feeding on newly emerged leaves which results in reduced shoot biomass and seed multiplication of the plant.

KEYWORDS
Vincetoxicum, weed, H. opulenta, plant