U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Biological Control 36 (2006) 32–48.


The leaf beetle, Diorhabda elongata (Brullé) sensu lato, was released in 2001 for the classical biological control of exotic saltcedars, a complex of invasive Tamarix species and hybrids. It did not establish at sites south of 37°N latitude where summer daylengths are below the critical photoperiod of the northern-adapted populations of the beetle that were released. Therefore, we assessed the host specificity of four D. elongata populations collected from more southern latitudes in the Old World (Tunisia, Crete, Uzbekistan, and Turpan, China). All populations were similar to each other and the previously released populations of D. elongata in their host specificity. Larval/pupal survival for all populations was 34–100% on Tamarix test plants, 0–76% on native Frankenia plants (both in the order Tamaricales), and 0% on the remaining 28 species of plants on which all the larvae died as 1st instars. D. elongata laid high numbers of eggs on saltcedar, generally fewer eggs on athel (a moderately valued evergreen species of Tamarix) except for Uzbekistan beetles, and few to no eggs on three species of Frankenia. Few to no adults were found on Frankenia plants which also were poor maintenance hosts. The release of any of the four D. elongata populations in the southern US and northern Mexico should pose no risk to plants outside the order Tamaricales and a low risk to native, non-target Frankenia plants. Athel may be less damaged than saltcedar.