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Field trip to South Africa (February 08-17, 2019)
by  F. Freda

Trip for the project about biological control of Guinea grass (Megathyrsus maximus). About 300 km North from Durban found a large population of the target weed: recorded and collected flower galls, one weevils and mites. Found spots with  a good mite presence (more than 50 mites/stem; 80-100% infestation rate); we monitored the distribution gradient of the mites (much more on the green basal leaves and much less in the leaves close to the tip); also collected about 40 weevil adults (several mating couples); found some galls with clerid beetle larvae. Collected as well some stem boring scolytid beetles and nititulid beetle. In the area a large infestation of Parthenium sp. (an alien weed of American origin). In a site 10 km North of the town of Mkuze we found a large population of Guinea grass, Abutilon sp. (theophrasti?) and Acacia nilotica (eriophyid mites on leaves and on one pod). Collected 2000 eriophyid mites (different phenological instars) on Guinea grass.  We also collected around 20 stems with a peculiar oviposition. Still on Guinea grass, recorded 2 hemipteran bugs: a black one and a white-cotton like.


Field trip to Sicily (February 27 - March 1, 2019)
by M. Guedj

Exploration trip in search for Calamintha nepeta sites and visit to previous sites for Taeniatherum caput-medusaeBromus tectorum  and Tamarix. In the area of Cefalù, found Tamarix with 2 scale insects (collected a small sample for identification). In direction of Madonie Mountain range, near the town of Collesano, found the first site on Calamintha (collected leaf samples for DNA). Afterwards,  near the Etna (Milo), collected a second site for Calamintha. Looking for Taeniatherium caput-medusae and cheatgrass in previous sites, we found only senescent plants and quite abundant snow. Near the small town of Graniti found a new site for Calamintha. Last stop in the park of the Alcantara gorge: found the forth site of Calamintha.


Field trip to Sicily (April 21 - 24, 2019)
by  F. Di Cristina

Trip along the northern coast of Sicily, from Palermo from Catania, visiting the sites of BBCA's projects plants. Found Salsola kali at the beach of Campofelice di Roccella and at the Simeto WWF Park site (here with the symptoms of the damage of Gymnancyla). Driving in direction Madonie Mountains, found Centaurea sp. (probably a new species) at Piano Torre site and collected other rosettes of Centaurea sp. near Portella Mandarini. Recorded Lepidium draba near the town Petralia Sottana. Also found an interesting damage on the flowers of Tamarix sp. (probably the pupae of a weevil) and collected 2 specimens of an Apion sp. on Tamarix. Found Calamintha in two sites (small town of Graniti and the village Fornazzo di Milo). Also collected cheatgrass (in flower) and Isatis tinctoria (collected Nititulidae beetles). 


Field trip to Greece (May 11 -18, 2019)
by F. Di Cristina

Round trip starting from Thessaloniki, through Central and Western Greece and Peloponnese. We stopped in Kilkis, Leonidio, Agios Georgios, Malakasi, Kastraki and Kalambaka. We found Centaurea sostitialis heavily attacked by Ceratapion basicorne (collected about 35 roots and also some C. basicorne in pupal stage). Collected a large population of Bromus tectorum plants: some plants in flower and some already with seeds; we kept the plants in a plastic envelop with holes for ventilation; after two days, gall midges emerged from the flowers/seeds: transferred them in ETOH 98%. Found Lepidium draba attacked by the mite Aceria drabae. Collected many plants specimens of Calamintha (collected leaf samples for DNA) and a Calamintha population with an important damage of a stem boring insect (probably a Diptera; collected few samples). Also collected some psyllids (in ETOH 98%). Recorded a peculiar Centaurea sp., very tall: collected on it one sample of Larinus sp. (similar to L. latus) and a couple of samples of Lixus sp. Found a good population of Euphorbia esula showing a large infestation of the gall midge Bayeria capitigena. Spent the last day in Thessaloniki visiting the EBCL team and the field plot for the experiments with Larinus spp.


Field trip to Kazaksthan (May 04 - 12, 2019)
by F. Marini and P. Weyl

Goals of this trip was: 1) looking for Pseudorchestes distans on Rhaponticum repens, a jumping weevil recorded in the area along the Ili River north to Kapchagay; 2) look for midges on Bromus tectorum; 3) look for Lasiosina sp. larvae in the stems of Lepidium latifolium. About 35 Km north of Bakans, collected (using the insect net) around 15 individuals of Pseudorchestes distans on Russian knapweed, and stored them in a box with stems of the plant, in order to bring them alive in Delémont. Set up the camp in direction Topar: collected other few P. distans and found two different kids of R. repens (different colors, greener-yellowish instead green-greyish as usual, and different posture). In three sites collected green seeds of Bromus tectorum looking for emerging midges (stored in a perforated ziplock plastic bag); the sites have been chosen according to the distance among them (about 50 Km) and the abundance of the plants (the bigger populations). Also found R. repens with symptoms of Aceria sobhiani attack and larvae of Lepidoptera inside the tips of some plants. Going in direction of Balatopar, found a big forest of Elaeagnus angustifolia and found the same weevil emerged from the galls collected last year in Uzbekistan. Travelling direction North, populations of R. repens and related weevils are gradually decreasing. Driving back to Almaty, in direction of Bakanas, found probably the best site for R. repens: collected almost 40 weevils.  


Field trip to Kazaksthan (May 28 - June 05, 2019)
by F. Marini, M. Volkovitsh and P. Weyl

Goal of this second trip was: 1) to look for Pseudorchestes distans on Rhaponticum repens (collect and bring back in Delémont to add to the colony developed with the insects collected last May), 2) to look for Temnocerus elaeagni and eventually Megamecus sp.n. on Elaeagnus angustifolia (collect and bring back in Delémont to develop a colony); 3) to look for Sphenoptera foveola on Chondrilla juncea. In Aktogay area, collected many Sphenoptera foveola individuals. First camp in Kumbasy (collected some C. juncea plants, symptoms of eriophyid mite attack on Elaeagnus angustifolia). Second camp in Karakol area: we collected P. distans from R. repens, stored them like last time (in plastic box with stems kept fresh by florist sponge; the weevil population looks bigger than last May). Found galls on R. repens leaves, we collected a pupa from one of them. In general, there are just few galls and less jumping weevils than last May, but they are more active. Collected around 100 weevils. On the way back, we camped close to a side-channel of Ili River: we found on E. angustifolia eriophyid mite symptoms on leaves and stems (collected some stems, stored in carton tube with wet florist sponge),tracks of feeding (probably due to Lepidoptera larvae) and three different species of Cerambycid.  


Field trip to Bulgaria and Greece (May 31 - June 05, 2019)
by A. La Marca and F. Di Cristina

Driving from Sofia to the Starosel site: collected samples of Bromus tectorum (green and brown) and Taeniatherum caputmedusae (all with spikes but still very green). Found a large population of Euphorbia cyparissias: collected samples for DNA and recorded rust symptoms; in the area nearby also collected some Larinus latus. We stopped in several sites (Hisarya, Parvomay, Byala Reka, Mineralnye Bani): collected B. tectorum and T. caputmedusae samples for eventual eriophyid mite detection; found several Larinus filiformis (LAFI) and L. latus (LALA) on Centaurea solstitialis. In Plovdiv meeting with A. Stoeva at the University. Arrived in Greece (June 3) we had very bad weather conditions. Checked for Bromus tectorum the same sites of the previous trip. Short vist at the EBCL-Thessaloniki substation.


Field trip to Sicily (June 7-11, 2019)
by F.Di Cristina and M. Guedj

At the Simeto WWF Park site, found on Tamarix sp. an interesting damage (galls, probably due to eriophyid mites) and weevils; also collected many Corimalia sp. At the same site, found around 22 Gymnancyla in the sand under some dry plants of Salsola kali. In the town of Marzamemi, found on Tamarix sp. 3 leaf beetle adults, scale and one adult Apion  (collected and put in ETOH 98°). Also found some Corimalia and some Coniatus. Found a large population of Calamintha sp. along the road in direction of Ispica
Between Caltagirone and Piazza Armerina, found other large populations of Calamintha sp. Found also a lot of plants of Chondrilla along the road in direction of Valguarena. Around the area of Mt Etna, where we stopped in 3 different sites and found large populations of Bromus tectorum.


Field trip to Armenia (June 30- July 05, 2019)
by M. Volkovitsh and F. Di Cristina

Meeting with M. Kalashian in Yerevan to organize our travel. Reached the Gorovan desert, we camped near the town of Vedi and there collected more than 200 Oporopsamma sp. pupae on the roots of Chondrilla juncea. Found a white small weevil (probably Ptochus sp., according to L. Gultekin). Detected the presence of  Oligochaeta divaricata (thistle species very similar to the genus Centaurea). Second camp in Noravank Gorge. In the Arpa Valley we found a large population of Centaurea solstitialis (collected Larinus filiformis, L. curtus and Bangasternus sp.). We also found  Apion sp. and Baris sp. on Malva sp. and other weevils on an elongated Verbascum sp. At the same site we also recorded an important  attack of eriophyid mites on Tamarix. Moreover we made a sampling of leaves of Euphorbia esula for DNA. In a site in the Noravank Gorge collected about 20 small Coniatus sp. and some scale insects on Tamarix.


Field trip to Slovenia, Hungary and Slovakia (September 13-17, 2019)
by R. Sforza
and F. Marini
Goal of this trip was to check for Euphorbia species. First sampling site in Slovenia, near the town of  Sentjur pri Celju: found Robinia pseudoacacia with the leaves heavily attacked by a leaf-miner. Driving in direction of Budapest, we stopped at the second site near Iharosberény: collected a very small sample of Euphorbia cyparissias (5 plants for DNA). Arrived in Hungary, first site in Cserénfa: collected samples of both E. esula and E. cyparyssias. Second site near the town Batasek: found a woody species of Euphorbia sp. with tip galls of a midge (probably Bayeria sp.); collected 2 specimens of an Apion sp. on Tamarix. Next stop very close to the town of Batmonostor: found in sympatric conditions E. esula, E. virgata and an hybrid between E. cyparissias and one of the other 2. Next stop near the town of Melikut: at the site we collected Robinia leaves attacked by the same leaf-miner and a sample of leaves of E. cyparissias. Last site in Hungary was near the town of Csorvas: collected leaf samples of 3 Euphorbia spp. (E. cyparissias, E. esula and E. virgata). Meeting in Kalná nad Hronom with the Slovakjan team (P. Toth and the botanist P. Elias). We performed all the collections in Nitra territory: we collected few Ventenata dubia senescent plants, a sample of E. cyparissias and small population of E. virgata.

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