• cat's claw creeper;
  • Dolichandra unguis-cati;
  • host-specificity;
  • Hylaeogena jureceki;
  • Macfadyena unguis-cati


Cat's claw creeper, Dolichandra unguis-cati (L.) L.G. Lohman (syn: Macfadyena unguis-cati (L.) A.H. Gentry) (Bignoniaceae), a major environmental weed in Queensland and New South Wales, is a Weed of National Significance and an approved target for biological control. A leaf-mining jewel beetle, Hylaeogena jureceki Obenberger (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), first collected in 2002 from D. unguis-cati in Brazil and Argentina, was imported from South Africa into a quarantine facility in Brisbane in 2009 for host-specificity testing. H. jureceki adults chew holes in leaves and lay eggs on leaf margins and the emerging larvae mine within the leaves of D. unguis-cati. The generation time (egg to adult) of H. jureceki under quarantine conditions was 55.4 ± 0.2 days. Host-specificity trials conducted in Australia on 38 plant species from 11 families supplement and support South African studies which indicated that H. jureceki is highly host-specific and does not pose a risk to any non-target plant species in Australia. In no-choice tests, adults survived significantly longer (>32 weeks) on D. unguis-cati than on non-target test plant species (<3 weeks). Oviposition occurred on D. unguis-cati and one non-target test plant species, Citharexylum spinosum (Verbenaceae), but no larval development occurred on the latter species. In choice tests involving D. unguis-cati, C. spinosum and Avicennia marina (Avicenniaceae), feeding and oviposition were evident only on D. unguis-cati. The insect was approved for field release in Australia in May 2012.