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Moth Species for Biological Weed Control

Unusual host preference of a moth species could be useful for biological weed control.
A team of Iranian researchers from the Rice Research Institute of Iran have discovered that Gynnodomorpha  permixtana, a well-known moth species from Europe and Asia, has changed its host preferences in order to adjust to Iran's northern region environmental conditions. The importance of this adaptation for biological control of problematic weeds in rice fields and the biology of the moth on new host plant have been described in the open access journal Nota Lepidopterologica.
The larvae of G. permixtana have been so far reported to feed on the seeds and flowers of plant species such as water-plantain, eyebright, lousewort, bitter root and European yellow-rattle, which are weeds commonly present across Europe and Asia. A new study of the populations in northern Iran however has revealed a new host -Sagittaria trifolia, commonly known as arrowhead.
Arrowheads are groups of problematic perennial broadleaf weeds that thrive in rice fields and waterways. Favorable climatic condition after rice harvesting results in continued activity and thriving.
The economic importance of this weed has prompted researchers from the Rice Research Institute of Iran to seek for possible solutions for the management of arrowhead. Their studies have revealed that the larvae of a certain moth species feeding on the fruits and seeds of the problematic weed, can lead to dramatic decrease of its germination potential.
Many factors can possibly influence host plant choice including food quality and quantity, climatic conditions, synchronization, physiological conditions in insect and food plant, genetic modifications etc. Some of these factors are not stable and change in different environmental conditions, so an insect can change its choice of food plant on the basis of seeking the most beneficial complex of factors. It seems that in the northern regions of Iran, and luckily for rice crops.
Source science daily


16-09-2014 10:46 AM