Arthopod Fauna Associated With Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata Willd) In North Carolina

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Title: Arthopod Fauna Associated With Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata Willd) In North Carolina
Author: Thornton, Melissa Rose
Advisors: Clyde Sorenson, Committee Member
George Kennedy, Committee Member
David Orr, Committee Chair
Abstract: The purpose of this research was to obtain background information to aid the implementation of a biological control program against the weed, kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata Willd). This research had several specific objectives that examined: 1) potential insect pollinators and seed production of kudzu in NC; 2) phytophagous insects and insect herbivory of kudzu foliage, seeds, vines and roots in NC; 3) abundance and diversity of foliar, vine, and root feeding insect communities on kudzu in comparison with those found on soybeans, the closest North American relative of kudzu in the United States. Kudzu is pollinated by native and naturalized insects in NC, in a pattern that varies by flower apparency rather than density. Arthropod herbivory by native generalists almost eliminated kudzu seed viability, while a naturalized Asian specialist consumed a nominal proportion of seeds. These data indicate that seed feeding arthropods would be poor candidates for importation biological control. Kudzu and soybeans shared the same foliar feeding insect communities and levels of defoliation, suggesting that foliage feeders are also poor choices for importation. No kudzu vine or root feeding insects or damage were found during the two years of this study, suggesting that future importation biological control research should focus on such feeders from Asia.
Date: 2004-12-02
Degree: MS
Discipline: Entomology

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