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Journal/Book Title/Conference

Research On Capitol Hill 2014

Publication Date


Faculty Mentor

Ted Evans


Leafy spurge (LS) is an aggressive Eurasian weed that has been reduced in many areas in North America through biological control releases of flea beetles. Three flea beetle species were released in the mid-1990s at a site dominated by LS in Richmond, Utah. This study assessed the long term effects of LS biocontrol on the plant community at this site by addressing four questions:

(1) Is LS abundance significantly lower in 2013 than it was in the 1990s?

(2) What plant species are replacing LS and are they native or non-native?

(3) Have the flea beetle populations persisted since their release?

(4) What may be the role, in long-term reduction of LS, of long-horned beetles that also occur at the site?

The results demonstrate that LS abundance has significantly decreased from the 1990s; non-native grasses make up the dominant vegetation; flea beetles have persisted but in low numbers, with Aphthona lacertosa being the most abundant; and long-horned beetles appear to play a significant role in consuming LS flowers. These results provide important information for land managers considering the vegetative response and the role of long-horned beetles in long-term management for LS. This project was funded in part by an URCO grant from USU

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