Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Moth Released To Curb Spread Of Climbing Fern

Date:
April 10, 2005
Source:
USDA / Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
More than 100 tiny moths from Australia were released in Florida this morning to begin a biological control effort against an invasive weed that has spread over more than 100,000 acres in the state.

This moth, a female Cataclysta camptozonale, is showing great promise as a biocontrol for Old World climbing fern, an invasive vine that’s winding its way across Florida. The Australian native is the first insect brought into the United States to combat climbing fern.
Credit: Photo by Christine A. Bennett

WASHINGTON, February 14 -- More than 100 tiny moths from Australia were released in Florida this morning to begin a biological control effort against an invasive weed that has spread over more than 100,000 acres in the state.

Related Articles


Scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and officials from the State of Florida released the moths this morning at the Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound, Fla. The moth, Austromusotima camptonozale, is the first biological control agent approved for release against the invasive weed Old World climbing fern, Lygodium microphyllum.

This aggressive vine has spread across south and central Florida, scaling the stems or trunks of other plants to form thick vegetative blankets. On the ground, it creates tough, spongy mats that smother grasses, low-growing shrubs and small trees.

"Land managers consider this fern to be the state's worst invasive species, so we hope the moth will begin to offer much-needed relief," said ARS entomologist Robert W. Pemberton, at the Invasive Plant Research Laboratory at Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He leads the international research effort to develop biological controls for the weed.

Climbing fern is native to the Old World tropics including Australia, Africa, tropical Asia and the Pacific Islands but doesn't cause problems in those areas, probably because natural enemies help keep it in check. Searching for natural enemies of the fern in its native habitat, scientists at the ARS Australian Biological Control Laboratory in Indooroopilly identified several promising candidates, including A. camptonozale. Then they tested these biocontrol candidates to make sure they would only feed on the fern and not on other, nontarget plants.

The moth released today measures just half an inch from wingtip to wingtip and is bright-white, with spots and stripes on its wings. The larvae of the moth feed on climbing fern's leaves, damaging the vines.

The Indooroopilly scientists shipped a supply of moths to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service's biological control quarantine facility in Gainesville for three years of testing by scientists with the ARS Invasive Plant Research Laboratory and the University of Florida. Upon completion of those tests, federal and state approval was obtained to turn the moths loose at climbing-fern-infested sites in Florida. This biological control program is a collaborative effort among ARS, UF, SFWMD, and Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Herbicides have been the major weapon against climbing fern, but the weed thrives in remote wetland areas that are difficult and expensive to treat. A. camptonozale and other biocontrol organisms may provide an effective and more environmentally friendly alternative to the use of herbicides in wetlands.

ARS is the U. S. Department of Agriculture's chief in-house scientific research agency.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA / Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA / Agricultural Research Service. "Moth Released To Curb Spread Of Climbing Fern." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 April 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050325185247.htm>.
USDA / Agricultural Research Service. (2005, April 10). Moth Released To Curb Spread Of Climbing Fern. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050325185247.htm
USDA / Agricultural Research Service. "Moth Released To Curb Spread Of Climbing Fern." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050325185247.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins