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UC Riverside scientists release natural enemy of Asian citrus psyllid
Date:12/21/2011

ment of Entomology, collected colonies of Tamarixia radiata during four trips to the Punjab region of Pakistan during the past 18 months. Christina Hoddle, his wife and an assistant specialist in the department, was an integral part of the field work in Pakistan.

In total, about 1,500 parasitic wasps were brought to Riverside from Pakistan under permit from USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Twelve colonies were quarantined on campus. On Dec. 7, 2011, state and federal authorities cleared Tamarixia from quarantine with the issuance of a permit to release this natural enemy for establishment in California. The parasitic wasps do not bite or sting people or animals. Safety testing in quarantine demonstrated that the parasites are disease free and pose no environmental risk.

Hoddle explained that the Indian subcontinent is likely part of the ACP's native range. The first study of the pest was published in 1927 by scientists in the region. ACP is now found in parts of the Middle East, South and Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. In the United States, this psyllid was first detected in Florida in 1998 and is now also found in Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas and Arizona. In 2008, the pest was detected for the first time in California in San Diego and Imperial county backyard trees. Large ACP populations are now well established in urban areas of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

The ACP feeds on citrus and close relatives of citrus. When the psyllids feed on leaves and stems, they damage the tree by injecting a toxin that causes leaves to twist and die. More importantly, however, is the psyllid's ability to spread a bacterium that causes Huanglongbing disease. Huanglongbing, also known as citrus greening, is one of the most harmful diseases of citrus worldwide. T
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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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