Laura Varone

Laura Varone
Fundación Para El Estudio De Especies Invasivas

Doctor of Philosophy
If you need a publication, please send me an email at lauvarone@fuedei.org. Thanks.

About

79
Publications
3,486
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215
Citations
Introduction
I work as a researcher in the areas of applied entomology and ecology. Mainly in insect control with environmentally safe methods, such as biological control and the use of pheromones. These investigations require the evaluation of tritrophic interaction systems that involve the pest insect, its natural enemies and its host plants. Since 2007 I have been conducting research on systems involving cacti and their associated phytophagous insects.
Additional affiliations
October 2001 - present
Fundación Para El Estudio De Especies Invasivas
Position
  • Researcher

Publications

Publications (79)
Article
Full-text available
Surveys of patterns of genetic variation in natural sympatric and allopatric populations of recently diverged species are necessary to understand the processes driving intra and interspecific diversification. The South American moths Cactoblastis cactorum, Cactoblastis doddi and Cactoblastis bucyrus are specialized in the use of cacti as host plant...
Preprint
Surveys of patterns of genetic variation in natural sympatric and allopatric populations of recently diverged species are necessary to understand the processes driving intra and interspecific diversification. The South American moths Cactoblastis cactorum, Cactoblastis doddi and Cactoblastis bucyrus are specialized in the use of cacti as host plant...
Article
Full-text available
Argentina is considered megadiverse for Cactaceae, and Jujuy province, with a high proportion of cacti ende-mism, is a critical region for their preservation. Cacti deterioration is mainly associated with habitat degradation, agricultural frontier advance, urbanization, illegal collection and trade. Of the three species of columnar cacti within Tri...
Article
Full-text available
The cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), is an invasive species in North America where it threatens Opuntia native populations. The insect is expanding its distribution along the United States Gulf Coast. In the search for alternative strategies to reduce its impact, the introduction of a natural enemy, Apanteles opun...
Article
Cactoblastis cactorum's unintended arrival to Florida and its expansion in North America represent a threat to Opuntia‐based agriculture and natural ecosystems in the United States and Mexico. Apanteles opuntiarum attacks C. cactorum and is a potential biocontrol agent due to its specificity, wide distribution and occurrence. Laboratory rearing met...
Article
Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) is native to South America and has been used successfully as a biocontrol agent against invasive species of Opuntia (Cactaceae). After its release in the Caribbean, it entered North America, dispersed to southeastern USA, and may reach Mexico threatening native cacti biodiversity and industry ba...
Article
Full-text available
Summary Field exploration in Argentina for cactophagous lepidopteran hosts parasitized by the recently described braconid parasitoid Apanteles opuntiarum Martínez & Berta (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) revealed a host range restricted to Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) and C. doddi. Field collections of cactophagous larvae parasiti...
Article
Full-text available
The cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), is a pest that threatens native Opuntia spp. in North America. Control tactics developed and implemented against this invasive pest successfully eradicated the moth in Mexico and on barrier islands in the United States. However, with the cancellation of the regional management...
Article
Full-text available
A central aspect in biology and ecology is to determine the combination of factors that influence the distribution of species. In the case of herbivorous insects, the distribution of herbivorous species is necessarily associated with their host plants, a pattern often referred to as “host use”. Novel interactions that arise during a biological inva...
Article
Despite their recognized importance in the literature, the contribution of native-range species interactions to invasion success has been inadequately studied. Previous authors have suggested that biases in the sampling of propagules from the native range might influence invasion success, but most contemporary invasion hypotheses focus on the devel...
Article
Full-text available
Solenopsis invicta virus 1 (SINV-1) was found regularly and prevalently in S. invicta. In sampled locations where S. invicta and S. geminata are sympatric (specifically, Gainesville, FL and Travis, TX), SINV-1 was detected in S. geminata. Conversely, in areas in which S. geminata and S. invicta are allopatric, SINV-1 was not detected in S. geminata...
Article
Full-text available
The cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg), is native to South America. Since its unintentional arrival to the United States in 1989 and to Mexican islands in 2006, it has become a serious threat to the diversity of both wild and cultivated species of Opuntia Mill, in North America. The native ecological host range of C. cactorum has not been di...
Article
Full-text available
A field exploration was conducted to confirm the southern distribution of Cactoblastis cactorum in Argentina. The distribution of the moth was found to be extended to the south (40° 10'S) and west (66° 56'W). The native species Opuntia penicilligera was recorded as a host for the first time. These findings should be useful in improving bioclimatic...
Article
Full-text available
We review the fire ant research conducted by the ARS-South American Biological Control Laboratory (SABCL) since 1987 to find a complex of natural enemies in southern South America and evaluate their specificity and suitability for field release as self-sustaining biological control agents. We also include those studies conducted by the ARS-Center f...
Article
Environmental niche models (ENMs) have gained enormous popularity as tools to investigate potential changes in species distributions resulting from climate change and species introductions. Despite recognition that species interactions can influence the dynamics of invasion spread, most implementations of ENMs focus on abiotic factors as the sole p...
Article
Full-text available
The gregarious species of Apanteles that attack cactus-feeding phycitine moths (Lepidoptera : Pyralidae) from Argentina are identified using DNA barcodes and morphological data. Sequences of specimens from 10 different populations were generated. Corrected genetic divergences showed two clusters of specimens separated by COI divergences higher than...
Conference Paper
Orasema minutissima (Hymenoptera: Eucharitidae) has been proposed as a biological control agent of the Little Red Fire Ant, Wasmannia auropunctata. Our results suggest that there is some confusion of species boundaries and biological differences with the closely related species O.costaricensis and O.smithi. We examine differences between species us...
Article
Parasitoid wasps of the genus Orasema Cameron have been considered as potential candidates for biological control of imported fire ants in the United States. Surveys were conducted for their occurrence in fire ant colonies across southern South America. In Argentina, 443 ant colonies were excavated at 57 sites and 11 positive sites were revisited t...
Article
The RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) region of Solenopsis invicta virus 1 (SINV-1) was sequenced from 47 infected colonies of S. invicta, S. richteri, S. geminata, and S. invicta/richteri hybrids collected from across the USA, northern Argentina, and northern Taiwan in an attempt to infer demographic information about the recent S. invicta intro...
Article
Full-text available
Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3) is a recently described positive-strand RNA virus that infects the red imported fire ant, S. invicta. The genome of an Argentinean isolate of Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3ArgSF ) obtained from the Santa Fe region of Argentina was sequenced in entirety. Assembly of nine overlapping fragments yielded a consens...
Conference Paper
Several species of Orasema are known to attack both Solenopsis and Wasmannia (Myrmicinae), and have been proposed as biological control agents of fire ants (Heraty 1993). Two species complexes are known to attack fire ants; the Orasema xanthopus group attack Solenopsis in southern South America, and species in the costaricensis group are parasitoid...
Article
Multiplex reverse transcription and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods were developed to detect Solenopsis invicta viruses -1, -2, and -3 simultaneously in their host, the red imported fire ant, S. invicta. cDNA synthesis was conducted in a single reaction containing an oligonucleotide primer specific for each virus. Multiplex PCR was subseque...
Article
Biological characteristics of the parasitoid Orasema simplex Heraty (Hymenoptera: Eucharitidae), a potential candidate for the biological control of fire ants in the United States were investigated. Female survivorship, fertility and oviposition preferences were studied in the laboratory. Naturally parasitized colonies were examined to determine of...
Article
Full-text available
The hypothesis that mature egg availability during a parasitoid's lifetime affects the functional response, as well as a parasitoid's handling time and searching efficiency, was tested. Campoletis grioti Blanchard (Hym: Ichneumonidae) female parasitoids and Spodoptera frugiperda Smith (Lep: Noctuidae) host larvae were used as an example. Each femal...

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