California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Habitat Conservation Planning
Effects of Insect Biological Control Agents on Cirsium ciliolatum
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Present Land Use
U.S. Department of Agriculture Western Regional Research Center, 800 Buchanan St., Albany, CA 94710 in Alameda County (quarantine laboratory, 37.885993°N, -122.303536°E).
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is issuing a permit to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Western Regional Research Center [Permit No. 2081(a)-20-015-RP] pursuant to Fish and Game Code section 2081(a) for a project to determine if two insect biological control agents can attack or damage nontarget plant species such as a closely related state-listed endangered plant Cirsium ciliolatum. The insects being evaluated are two weevils, Larinus filiformis whose only known host plant is yellow star-thistle (Centaurea solstitialis), and Larinus latus whose only known host plant is Scotch thistle (Onopordum acanthium). The Cirsium ciliolatum plants will be exposed to the insects in two settings, (1) with the known host plant species (yellow starthistle or Scotch thistle) to confirm if the insects will preferentially target their known host plant species, and (2) in the absence of the known host plant species to determine whether the insects will feed on, lay eggs on, and can develop in the flower heads of Cirsium ciliolatum when presented with no alternative. The results will help determine if Cirsium ciliolatum is at risk of damage by these insects or if the insects may be safely released as biological control agents of yellow star-thistle and Scotch thistle, two invasive species. Tissue samples will undergo DNA analysis at a USDA facility in Montana. Any vouchered specimens of the cultivated plants will be stored at approved herbaria within California.