Invasion by alien species threaten native biodiversity, alter the functioning of ecosystems, and cause substantial economic impacts. Biological control of these invasive species using co-evolved natural enemies has long been considered a safe, cost effective, and environmentally benign tool for pest management. Here, we for the first time report the Mediterranean endophagous seed beetle Bruchidius tuberculatus (Hochhut 1847) as a potential biocontrol agent of a noxious medicinal weed ‘Iberian starthistle’ Centurea iberica Trev. ex Spreng. This is also the first report of this bruichid from the Indian subcontinent, which accidentally got introduced into Kashmir Himalaya, perhaps as a seed contaminant. Adults of the species were bred from the flower heads of the invasive alien weed species. Grubs of the beetle were found to be efficient predispersal specialist seed feeders, exerting a substantial control on total viable seed output at natural population levels. As the narrower host range of endophagous species is a preferable weed control strategy, this Mediterranean bruchid seems to be a promising host specific biological control agent of the noxious weed.
Key words: Centaurea iberica, Bruchidius tuberculatus, Biocontrol, Invasion.
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