Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Highly invasive horse-chestnut leaf miner found living in the Balkans by 1879

Date:
June 21, 2011
Source:
Freie Universitaet Berlin
Summary:
The horse-chestnut leaf miner was living on native stands of the horse-chestnut in Greece by 1879 and was already present in the Balkans more than a century before its scientific description, new research shows.

The horse-chestnut leaf miner was living on native stands of the horse-chestnut in Greece by 1879 and was already present in the Balkans more than a century before its scientific description. The present study by an international and interdisciplinary team around David Lees (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France and Natural History Museum, London) and H. Walter Lack (Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum, Freie Universitδt Berlin) is based on herbarium analysis. They resolve a two decade-long debate about origin and invasion of the horse-chestnut leaf miner. A Balkan origin for this leaf-mining moth is now certain. Results are now published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, the scientific journal of the Ecological Society of America.

Known timeline of the horse-chestnut leaf miner invasion

The small but highly invasive horse-chestnut leaf-mining moth (Cameraria ohridella) was only discovered in 1984 from an outbreak on planted trees bordering Lake Ohrid in Macedonia. It was described in 1986, as a genus new to Europe and managed to invade almost all Europe since 1989. Its larvae are leaf miners on the white flowering horse-chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), causing significant damage to their summer foliage. The area of origin of horse-chestnut is the Balkans (Albania, Greece, and Macedonia). Since the 17th century, the trees have been cultivated in parks, gardens and streets throughout Europe for their ornamental foliage and flowers.

Travel back in time to leaf-mining larvae in herbaria

For this study, herbarium specimens of the leaf miner's host plant horse-chestnut from several botanical institutions throughout Europe have been examined. Surprisingly, many horse-chestnut leaf miner larvae were found which were unintentionally pressed within the leaves of horse-chestnut. The oldest caterpillar was found in a herbarium specimen collected in 1879 in Greece, over a century before the genus Cameraria was suspected to exist in Europe. By genetic analysis of the caterpillar's mitochondrial and nuclear DNA the scientists confirmed the identity of the horse-chestnut leaf miner. They could also compare genetic diversity among present populations of the moth and historic specimens from herbaria. This study demonstrates that herbaria are greatly underutilized in studies of insect-plant interactions, herbivore biodiversity, invasive species' origins, and for documenting past distributions. Herbaria are a relevant source of information to solve modern day problems of invasive species including pests and diseases, and for looking at temporal changes in biodiversity.

New facts about origin of horse-chestnut leaf miner

Scientists had been long debating whether the moth was a possible introduction from Southeast Asia or an example of a recent host switch from sycamore or maple trees. The present study reveals that the horse-chestnut leaf miner is even more genetically diverse in the Balkans than previously reported.. The herbarium samples uncovered previously unknown mitochondrial haplotypes and locally undocumented nuclear alleles. This surprising genetic diversity and the antiquity of the caterpillar specimens, found only on natural stands of horse-chestnut from the earliest botanical explorations of remote sites in central Greece and Albania, shows a Balkan origin for the moth, thus contradicting the introduction and host switch theories. The study further reveals local outbreaks of the horse-chestnut leaf miner back to at least 1961, long before the species was first discovered.

The team found that late development of roads in the Balkans probably accelerated the dissemination of leaf miner populations which were previously living in isolated populations in remote canyons. The leaf-mining moths are able to travel as stowaways in vehicles, increasing their mobility between natural and ornamental stands of horse-chestnut. The long time window offered by the new data from herbaria also indicates that the most invasive race of the moth, known as haplotype A, has been increasing in frequency, even within the Balkans.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Freie Universitaet Berlin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Freie Universitaet Berlin. "Highly invasive horse-chestnut leaf miner found living in the Balkans by 1879." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110621121131.htm>.
Freie Universitaet Berlin. (2011, June 21). Highly invasive horse-chestnut leaf miner found living in the Balkans by 1879. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110621121131.htm
Freie Universitaet Berlin. "Highly invasive horse-chestnut leaf miner found living in the Balkans by 1879." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110621121131.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Rare Lion Cubs Make Debut at Belgrade Zoo

Raw: Rare Lion Cubs Make Debut at Belgrade Zoo

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) — Two white lion cubs were born in Belgrade zoo three weeks ago. White lions are a rare mutation of a species found in South Africa and some cultures consider them divine. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) — Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sweet Times for Hard Cider Makers

Sweet Times for Hard Cider Makers

AP (Oct. 16, 2014) — With hard cider making a hardcore comeback across the country, craft makers are trying to keep up with demand and apple growers are tapping a juicy new revenue stream. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Meet Garfi the Angry Cat

Meet Garfi the Angry Cat

Buzz60 (Oct. 16, 2014) — Garfi is one frowny, feisty feline - downright angry! Ko Im (@koimtv) introduces us to the latest animal celebrity taking over the Internet. You can follow more of Garfi's adventures on Twitter (@MeetGarfi) and Facebook (Garfi). Video provided by Buzz60
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