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Taxonomy of the species of Pegomya (Diptera: Anthomyiidae) developing in the shoots of spurges (Euphorbia spp.)

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image of Insect Systematics & Evolution

Leafy and cypress spurges are introduced, agressive weeds that are spreading at an alarming rate in northern North America. In the attempt to find suitable agents for biocontrol of these spurges, the damage potential and host specifity of several of their natural insect enemies in Europe are being tested. Species of anthomyiids known to infest shoots of spurges were investigated during 1983-86 at the CAB International Institute of Biological Control, European Station, Delémont, Switzerland, and prompted the present paper, which covers the taxonomy. What was previously recognized as one variable species, Pegomya argyrocephala (Meigen), is herein divided into 5 different species: P. argyrocephala (Meigen, 1826); P. curticornis (Stein, 1916); P. euphorbiae (Kieffer, 1909), = transversaloides Schnabl in Schnabl & Dziedzicki, 1911; P. hybernae sp. n.; and P. lucidae sp. n. Keys and descriptions to the adults of both sexes are provided, and host plant relations and other biological data are summarized for each species. Field and laboratory observations at Delémont have shown that two species, P. curticornis and P. euphorbiae, are potential control agents of leafy spurge and cypress spurge, respectively, and their release in North America recommended.

Affiliations: 1: V. Michelsen, Dept. of Entomology, Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen, Univer- sitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark


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