The biological control of noxious weeds

Tillyard, RJ 1929 , 'The biological control of noxious weeds' , Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania , pp. 51-86 .

1929_Tillyard_N...pdf | Download (3MB)
Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.


R.M. Johnston was honoured in a lecture read by R.J Tilyard in which it was claimed that the most striking achievement of that time was the immense
field of research covered by the biologists of that time.
The great credit of inaugurating work on the biological
control of Noxious Weeds must be given to that extremely
progressive body, the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association,
and their very capable entomologists.
The plant Lantana camara, originally
introduced about the year 1860 as an ornamental
shrub, soon began to take possession of large areas of land in
the various islands of the Hawaiian group, just as it has done
over large tracts of similar land in the warmer portions of
Eastern Australia.
The well-known entomologist Koebele,
while collecting in Mexico in 1898, noticed that the seeds of
this planrt in its native state were damaged by insects which
bred in them. This suggested to him the idea that the profuse
seeding of the plant might be checked, or even completely
prevented, if these insects could be firmly established
on the weed lantana in the Hawaiian Islands. Four years
later, his idea having been officially approved, he again
visited Mexico, and this time made a thorough study of all
the insects that feed on lantana. More than twenty different
species of these were shipped back to the Chief Entomologist,
Perkins, in Honolulu, and eight of these were soon successfully
established on the island of Oahu, of which Honolulu is the capital. Of these the most important were the species
that prevent the seeding of the plant. The larvae of an
Agromyzid fly, Agromyza lantanae proved to be the most
effective of these; it attacks the berries before they are
mature, and causes them to shrivel up, destroying the seeds
within them.
The Butterfly
larvae feed chiefly on the fiowers, and are therefore also of
great value in preventing the formation of the fruit.
The result of these introductions was a very marked
decrease in the amountof infestation by lantana in the drier
parts of the islands. With the aid of some judicious mechanical
clearing, these parts have now been rendered safe for all
time from being overrun by this dangerous weed.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Tillyard, RJ
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, RST, Van Diemens Land, natural history, science, ecology, taxonomy, botany, zoology, geology, geography, papers & proceedings, Australia, UTAS Library
Journal or Publication Title: Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
ISSN: 0080-4703
Collections: Royal Society Collection > Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Additional Information:

Copyright Royal Society of Tasmania

Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page