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American licorice (Glycyrrhiza lepidota Pursh) is a long-lived rhizomatous native legume that is common on moist prairies and meadows in the northern Great Plains and further west. This species is of interest for remediation and conservation because it is a legume that is fairly well adapted to moist saline soils. It is browsed by deer and pronghorn and its seeds are consumed by birds, rodents, and insects. Acanthoscelides aureolus (Horn) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)] and Bruchophagus grisselli McDaniel & Boe (Hymenoptera: Eurytomidae) can decimate seed production in natural populations. Our objectives were to determine seed yield components (i.e., seeds per pod and weight per seed), frequency of seed predation, seed germination, and parasitoids of A. aureolus and B. grisselli for 29 natural populations from western South Dakota over a 2-yr period. Seeds per pod, seed weight and frequency of seed predation varied widely among populations and between years. Seed predation was 12% in the first year and 48% in the subsequent year. Germination of normal seeds was not influenced by seeds per pod or seed weight. Seven species of parasitoids representing five taxonomic families (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea) were reared from seed samples containing larvae of A. aureolus or B. grisselli, Dinarmus acutus Thomson (Pteromalidae), Eurytoma tylodermatis Ashmead (Eurytomidae), Eupelmus vesicularis (Retzius) (Eupelmidae), and Uscana semifumipennis Girault (Trichogrammatidae) which feed on A. aureolus larvae or eggs. Idiomacromerus perplexus Gahan and I. terebrator Masi (Torymidae), and Mesopolobus bruchophagi (Gahan) (Pteromalidae) are parasitoids of B. grisselli. A new seed predator, the clover seed caterpillar, Grapholita interstinctana (Clemens) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), was discovered in a natural population of American licorice at Brookings, SD. The larva completes all instars and consumes the seeds within pods. Percent seed predation was estimated to exceed 60%.

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Proceedings of the South Dakota Academy of Science



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South Dakota Academy of Science