Q:TSA is in the same plant family as tomato, pepper, egg plant and potato. Are these close relatives of TSA at risk?

A: Good question! With the exception of eggplant, Gratiana boliviana did not feed on these close relatives under laboratory or field conditions. On eggplant, very minor feeding damage was seen in laboratory tests, but none in the field. Biological control agents released to control invasive weeds are studied for several years in order to confirm that they will only feed on the target weed, in this case Tropical Soda Apple. Scientists from University of Florida and US Department of Agriculture exposed the beetle to 123 plant species in 35 plant families and evaluated if the beetle will feed and survive on plants other than TSA. They confirmed that Gratiana boliviana can complete development only on TSA.