Hypurus ? portulaceae Marshall (COLEOPTERA : CURCULIONIDAE) ;- A POTENTIAL NATURAL ENEMY OF THE PURSLANE WEED, Portulaca oleracea (L.)

GANGA VISALAKSHY P. N., JAYANTH K. P.

Abstract


Porlz/Iaca oleracea L., (Portulacaceae),  ranking as the ninth \vorld’s worst weed, is  considered a weed 01°45 crops in 81 countries  of the tropical, sub-tropical and temperate  regions ofthe \vorld (Holms el aI., 1977). In  the tropics, it is particularly important in many  upland crops including groundnut, corn, rice,  sorghum, sugarcane, grapes, banana and  vegetables (Waterhouse, I993). The weed  establishes rapidly after soil disturbance and  'flo\vers and seeds before being out competed  by other weeds. ln addition to being  allelopathic to crop plants (Leela, 1992), the  weed acts as alternative host to many pests  and pathogens (Holms el aI., 1977). The weed  is also reported to cause death oflivestocks,  due to the rich oxalate and nitrate content in  the leaves and stems (Waterhouse, 1993).  Taking into consideration its economic  importance as a serious weed ofhorticultural  crops, surveys were carried out in and around  Bangalore to identify potential natural  enemies. These surveys revealed the  occurrence of a stem-borer, Hypurus  ?porIulaceae Marshall (Coleoptera :  Curculionidae) with potential to suppress P.  oleracea. So a, preliminary study was carried  out on the biology and damage potential of  this insect.  The adults of H. ? portulaceae are dark  brown or black and active.


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