Oberea erythrocephala
(Coleoptera: Cerambycidae)

Biological Weed Control Links     Photos:  Larvae   Beetle With Latex    Beetles
Photo from USDA, ARS, Sidney, MT.
Life cycle:
Over wintering stage: This time is spent as the larval stage.  The beetle larvae resumes developed in the spring.  The overwintering stage is as a dormant larva and takes place in the leafy spurge roots.
Egg stage: 50-80 eggs are laid by each female. (1)
Larval stage:  Found in the leafy spurge roots, mature larvae are about 20 mm and they are white with a yellowish head. (2)
Adult stage: They are 10-12 mm in length, they have long antennae, and they are gray and have reddish to orange head. They are around in mid-summer and eat leafy spurge flowers and leaves. (1)
Destructive stages: Larvae, this is the stage where the insect bores it's way to the roots of the plant and damages the plant.  The adults do little or no noticeable damage. (1)
Plant species attacked: Leafy spurge. (1)
Damage to host: This insect destroys the leafy spurge plant.  It is very harmful to the plant root.  It may be a very useful control agent but. there is not enough information to determine how well it is working yet. (1)
First introduced into the United States:  The first release was in 1979 in Canada, shown to have large damage to leafy spurge in its native Europe. (2)
Now established in: Very scattered across the U.S. and in parts of Canada. (1)
Habitat: Leafy spurge infested grasslands. (1)
Availability:  Available in Montana but they are some what rare. (2)  There are several collectable populations in Montana including Jefferson County.  See: http://mtwow.org/Purchase-Biological-Control-Agents.htm .
Stage to transfer: Prepupal and adult. (1)

Comments: We are having some successes with this beetle in Jefferson County [see: http://mtwow.org/Whitehall-Noxious-Weed-Control-Project.htm].  They seem to be a good "1-2 punch" with the flea beetles but data to support this opinion is not available at this time.  They are now (as of 2007) well established through out Southern Jefferson and Northern Madison Counties.  [Mr. Breitenfeldt].

1) http://www.nysaes.cornell.edu/ent/biocontrol/weedfeeders/oberea.html
2) http://www.uochb.cas.cz/~natur/cerambyx/oberysch.htm
3) http://www.team.ars.usda.gov/spurgefest2/abstracts/eight.html
4) http://www.team.ars.usda.gov/reports/99rep/99olson.html
5) http://www.forestryimages.org/browse/subimages.cfm?sub=3490
6) http://www.invasive.org/browse/weedcontrol.cfm?sub=3405
7) http://www.mda.state.mn.us/weedcontrol/leafyspurge2.htm
8) http://www.ccf.state.or.us/ODA/PLANT/WEEDS/bio_profile_ober.shtml
9) http://ceris.purdue.edu/napis/bio/ober/index.html
10) http://zipcodezoo.com/Animals/O/Oberea__erythrocephala.asp

1) Hansen, Rich,  http://www.nysaes.cornell.edu/ent/biocontrol/weedfeedres/oberea.htlm,                                                                USDA-APHIS-PPQ, Forestry Sciences Lab, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, 59717.

2) Spencer, Neal R., http://www.team.ars.usda.gov/symposium/1994/nineteen.html, USDA/ARS in Sydney, MT, 59270.


By: Morgan Shaw 2/9/08.

mtwow.org HOME    Back to Biological Control Agents, by Weed