Leucospilapteryx venustella (Clemens) (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) is a small, mostly light brown moth that during its larval stages creates mines in the leaves of plants in the family Asteraceae. Feeding damage by the early instars is characterized by serpentine mines that are expanded by later instars to form tentiform or blotch mines. This 4-page fact sheet was written by Rodrigo Diaz, Esteban Tapia, Veronica Manrique, William Overholt, and Donald Davis, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, February 2014.
The scarlet-bodied wasp moth, Cosmosoma myrodora (Dyar), is a beautiful native insect. Because of its striking adult coloration, including a bright red thorax and abdomen, and transparent wings patterned with black, this moth immediately stands out in Florida landscapes. Larval feeding is restricted to two native plants in the genus Mikania, family Asteraceae. This 5-page fact sheet was written by Diego Moscoso, Rodrigo Diaz, and William A. Overholt, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, May 2013.
Paragrass (also referred to as Californiagrass) is thought to have been introduced into Florida sometime in the late 1870s as a forage plant. The semiaquatic grass is a native of tropical Africa, and today it is established in both hemispheres in tropical and subtropical regions as a highly palatable fodder. The grass is established in regions of poorly drained soils and along freshwater shorelines in Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, South Carolina, and Texas. It is an extremely aggressive competitor that can displace many shoreline emergent plants and plants in cultivated or disturbed sites associated with moist soil. Paragrass becomes readily established in wet soils along shorelines where it can form large monocultures. This 4-page fact sheet was written by L. T. Markle, B. A. Sellers, and W. A. Overholt, and published by the UF Department of Agronomy, April 2013.
Tropical soda apple is a prickly shrub native to South America that is a major problem in pastures and conservation areas. So a multi-agency program supported the rearing, distribution, and release of more than 250,000 tropical soda apple leaf beetles across Florida from 2003 to 2011. This 4-page fact sheet was written by Rodrigo Diaz, William A. Overholt, Ken Hibbard, and Julio Medal, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, January 2013.
This leaf feeding beetle was recently introduced into Florida from China for biological control of air potato. This 4-page fact sheet provides information on the distribution, appearance, life cycle, host range and importance of the beetle. Written by Entomology and Nematology, and published by the UF Department of Ted D. Center and William A. Overholt, January 2013.
Tropical soda apple is a prickly shrub native to South America. First reported in Glades Co., Florida in 1988, it later spread to Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina. It is a major problem in pastures and conservation areas. Negative impacts of tropical soda apple include reduction of cattle stocking rates, competition with native plants, and the costs associated with its control. Dense thickets of the weed also can disrupt the movement of wildlife. This 4-page fact sheet provides a summary of the major steps of the successful biological control program against tropical soda apple in Florida. The article covers the importance of the weed, identification and biology of the biological control agent, rearing and release efforts, establishment and impact, and efforts to communicate the outcomes of the program to stakeholders. Written by R. Diaz, J. Medal, K. Hibbard, A. Roda, A. Fox, S. Hight, P. Stansly, B. Sellers, J. Cuda and W. A. Overholt, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, November 2012.
Air potato was introduced to Florida in 1905. By the 1980s, its vines were growing in thickets, waste areas, and hedges or fencerows in many parts of south and central Florida. By 1999, it was recognized as transforming plant communities by displacing native species, changing community structure and disrupting ecological functions. The air potato leaf beetle is a rather large, orange-red Asian leaf beetle. It feeds and develops only on air potato. The USDA-ARS Invasive Plant laboratory in Fort Lauderdale acquired this beetle from China and has begun an ambitious release program aimed at controlling air potato. This 3-page fact sheet was written by T. D. Center and W. A. Overholt, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, October 2012.
Although it is commonly referred to as the pepper fruit fly or tomato fruit fly, Atherigona orientalis is not a true fruit fly in the family Tephritidae, but rather a member of the Muscidae, the same family to which the common house fly belongs. It is found in most tropical and subtropical areas of the world and is usually considered a secondary pest or “trash fly.” But it can sometimes be a primary pest of certain agricultural crops, most notably plants in the family Solanaceae. This 4-page fact sheet was written by Kenneth L. Hibbard and William A. Overholt, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, September 2012.
Phragmites are a tall, perennial, wetland grasses, occurring in both fresh and brackish waters. This 3-page fact sheet discusses the three genetic lineages, native, Gulf Coast, and Eurasian; and the threat posed to Florida ecosystems by an invasion of the exotic Eurasian type. Written by W. A. Overholt, R. Diaz, M. Hanson and D. Williams, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, December 2011.
EENY471, a 6-page illustrated fact sheet by Cecil O. Montemayor, Rodrigo Diaz, William A. Overholt and Amanda Hodges, is part of the Featured Creatures collection. It describes this newly introduced exotic insect species hosted by the invasive West Indian marsh grass, Hymenachne amplexicaulis — synonymy, description, life cycle and biology, damage, economic importance, and natural enemies. Includes references. Published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, February 2010.
SS-AGR-312, a 7-page illustrated fact sheet by L. T. Markle, W. A. Overholt and K. A. Langeland, provides a guide to differentiate the invasive Solanum species, information about the ecology and management of each species, and information on Solanum capsicoides All., which can easily be confused with some of the invasive Solanum species. Includes references. Published by the UF Department of Agronomy, December 2008.