Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle, tree-of-heaven, is an invasive species native to Asia. It first was introduced into the United States in the 1700s and now is distributed throughout much of North America. Mechanical and chemical controls are current suppression tactics, however, implementation is costly. A weevil, Eucryptorrhynchus brandti (Harold), was identified in China and imported for quarantine testing in 2004 as a potential biological control agent. Host specificity tests on adult feeding, larval development, and oviposition of this weevil were conducted from 2007 to 2011 on A. altissima and 29 nontarget species. Eucryptorrhynchus brandti adults fed significantly more on A. altissima foliage when compared with all test species. Range of means for feeding on A. altissima was 32.5–106.5 mm2/adult/d. In no-choice tests, Simarouba glauca DC, Leitneria floridana Chapm., and Citrus limon (L.) Burm. F., had feeding rates of only 10, 49, and 10%, respectively, compared with the level of feeding on A. altissima. The mean range of adult feeding by E. brandti on all other test species was <7% of feeding on A. altissima (0.0–3.3 ± 5.0 mm2/adult/d). In the no-choice larval inoculation tests, larval development only occurred in two of 10 L. floridana seedlings compared with seven of 10 A. altissima seedlings. In the no-choice oviposition tests, oviposition and subsequent larval development did not occur in L. floridiana, whereas all seven A. altissima seedlings supported oviposition and subsequent larval development. The weevil did not appear to be a threat to L. floridana or any other nontarget species tested. Therefore, we conclude that Eucryptorrhynchus brandti is highly host specific to A. altissima.
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Vol. 41 • No. 1