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Field trip to South Africa (February 08-17, 2019)
by M. Cristofaro and 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. Cristofaro and 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 M. Cristofaro and 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). 

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