Introduction to the Behavioral Ecology of Introduction: The Introduction of Insects into Florida

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About 351 insect species have been introduced into Florida for potential release since 1890, though many were never released. Published and unpublished records show that 154 were released, almost all of them (151) as biological control agents of insect pests and weeds. An estimated 24.5% and 66.7% of the species released against insect pests and weeds, respectively, established populations in Florida. The proportion of insect predators (26.7%) was very similar to that of insect parasitoids (23.9%) estab lished. Insect pests targeted were mainly Homoptera (48%), Lepidoptera (24%), and Coleoptera (10%). Most of the insect pests (79%) and weeds (75%) targeted are not native to Florida; 43% of the insect pests are native to Asia, and 50% of the weeds are native to South America. None of the native insect pests and weeds targeted occurs only in Florida. There was no clear relationship of the number of individuals released, nor of their geographic origin, nor of the county in which they were released, to the probability of establishment.

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The Florida Entomologist, v. 76, issue 1, p. 1-53