U.S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service -- National Agroforestry Center


Date of this Version



Published in Biological Control 36 (2006) 22–31.


A three-year survey of kudzu foliage, seed, stems, and roots for associated phytophagous insects was conducted to establish basic information about the insect communities that kudzu harbors in China and to assess the abundance, diversity and damage caused by these insects. Diseases of kudzu were also surveyed in southern China. A total of 116 phytophagous insect species in 31 families and 5 orders were collected from kudzu in China, in six feeding guilds: foliage, sap, stem, terminal, seed and root feeders. The impact of foliage feeders varied from site to site and year to year, and over the course of the growing season. The mean percent defoliation of kudzu over all plots and years was 13.3±1.9%, but ranged as high as 34%. Two insect species fed on shoots and clipped off terminals. Infestation of new shoots was high, with nearly half of all shoots clipped. Nearly half of the vines showed damage from stem borers, again varying through the season. Two species of insects attacked kudzu roots, mainly the cerambycid beetle Paraleprodera diophthalma (Pascoe), which caused considerable damage to both small (young, <3.4 cm diameter) and large (older, >6 cm diameter) roots. Insects also caused substantial seed damage. Imitation rust, caused by Synchytrium minutum [=S. puerariae (P. Henning) Miyabe], was the most commonly observed disease of kudzu. Several of these species have potential as biological control agents for kudzu in the US.