Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unusual rhino beetle behavior discovered: Invasive species severely impact small islands

Date:
June 22, 2010
Source:
University of Guam
Summary:
The coconut rhinoceros beetle continues to munch its way through the crowns of coconut trees on the northwest coast of Guam. Rhino hunters are ready to get tough with bio-control measures that will decrease the rhino beetle population.

Dr. Aubrey Moore administers a bio-control virus to a rhino beetle.
Credit: Herman Crisostomo

The coconut rhinoceros beetle continues to munch its way through the crowns of coconut trees on the northwest coast of Guam. Rhino hunters are ready to get tough with bio-control measures that will decrease the rhino beetle population.

Russ Campbell, Guam's territorial entomologist and Aubrey Moore, UOG extension entomologist, welcomed New Zealand scientist, Trevor Jackson to Guam in early June. Jackson was invited to assist in the release of a virus into the rhino beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros) population. This virus only infects rhino beetles and it has been successful in controlling populations of the pest on other Pacific islands.

The virus is naturally occurring in Malaysia and is produced in a New Zealand laboratory. It is dispersed using autodissemination: adult beetles are fed a solution of the virus, become infected, and then they are released to infect the resident population. This method of bio-control has been successfully used in Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Palau and other Pacific islands where the rhino beetle was accidentally introduced. It will take several months to see the results. "The bio-control agent will not completely eradicate the CRB, but it will help to keep it under control," says Moore.

Aubrey Moore and his assistant Bob Bourgeois are been rearing rhino beetles individually in mason jars in order to have healthy beetles to infect with the virus. Hungry beetles are taken to the Guam Plant Inspection Facility, fed the virus, and then strategically released into island rhino populations. Once the beetles are infected, the virus damages their stomach walls causing them to stop eating.

During Jackson's visit the team discovered unusual rhino beetle behavior: the beetles were not breeding on the ground in decayed logs as normal; they were breeding in the detritus trapped in the tree branches. In cutting down 11 large coconut palms they found a complete ecosystem in the crowns including brown tree snakes, crabs, and, unfortunately, all life stages of rhinoceros beetles, from eggs to larva to young adults. This new discovery makes the release of the bio-control virus even more vital. Moore thinks this arboreal breeding behavior, seen only on Guam, may be due to the fact that the brown tree snake has wiped out most of Guam's rats. Elsewhere, rats love to live in coconut crowns, and they love to eat rhino beetle grubs.

This never-before-seen rhino beetle behavior of breeding in the crowns of coconut trees underscores an important point of invasive species on small islands. Their impact is often severe because there are no natural enemies, such as predators, parasites, or diseases, to control their population growth.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Guam. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Guam. "Unusual rhino beetle behavior discovered: Invasive species severely impact small islands." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100621091159.htm>.
University of Guam. (2010, June 22). Unusual rhino beetle behavior discovered: Invasive species severely impact small islands. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100621091159.htm
University of Guam. "Unusual rhino beetle behavior discovered: Invasive species severely impact small islands." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100621091159.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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