A worldwide catalog on the biological control of weeds (www.ibiocontrol.org/catalog/) summarizes at the world level information on agents used for classical biological control of weeds and has been an immense help and valuable reference to researchers and practitioners of weed biological control for many years. The database "Biocat" of CABI in the UK is a parallel effort to summarize first releases of new agents for insect biocontrol, for all years and countries.
While Biocat's release to the public is planned, it has not been a publicly searchable database. Both the world weed biocontrol catalog and Biocat focus on the history of releases of agents, giving years and places of release at the country level, with notes on impact of the agent on the target pest. This new catalog builds on that experience, with direct and specific help from Matthew Cock (access to Biocat) and many individual researchers. It is focused on North America (Canada, the USA, and Mexico), with the separate tracking for the USA of four overseas regions as separate entities (Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands).
This catalog expands on previous work by including information on host range estimation and literature host records, to give a sense of the likely specificity of each agent. It also includes information on synonyms of the agent's name to aid in understanding the literature. The records were assembled by the first author (RVD) from species-specific literature searches of the CAB abstracting database and other resources. The scope of the project is from 1985 to present, largely because in this period, persons working on most of the releases are still alive and were available to be contacted for clarification and unpublished information. This was done whenever possible (see list of scientists helping in effort in the Acknowledgement section).
The catalog's database has two types of entries, one for parasitoids and one for predators. Each entry represents a natural enemy x "country" release. In both types, the scientific name of the agent is given. In the subsequent columns, information is given on
For all pieces of information, supporting citations are given for each individual statement, and references follow the dataset.
In addition, written statements have been prepared that summarize the information in specific lines of the database, species by species for each country of release. These written summaries provide a more readable presentation of most of the information found in the actual database.
Finally, we hope to link natural enemy names to a picture of each agent, if available. This will grow over time and at first some species will not be figured.
This catalog is not intended to cover
Also, this catalog, is unlike an earlier USDA effort under the name of ROBO, which tracked all releases of an agent, not just the first release. In this catalog, we are tracking only the first release of an agent into the "country or territory" (the entities being tracked separately as mentioned above).
To cite the catalog database: Van Driesche, R., M. J. W. Cock, R. L. Winston, R. Reardon, and R. D. Weeks, Jr. 2024. Catalog of Species Introduced into Canada, Mexico, the USA, or the USA Overseas Territories for Classical Biological Control of Arthropods, 1985 to 2018. USDA Forest Service, Forest Health Assessment and Applied Sciences Team, Morgantown, West Virginia. FHAAST-2018-09., USDA Forest Service, Forest Health Assessment and Applied Sciences Team. Available online at www.northamericanbiocontrol.com (Accessed 3/1/2024).