Winged solution to biopollution?
Each frond of the kudzu-like Lygodium can grow 100 feet long and smother wetlands plants in its way. Of all Florida's weeds, "by far, this one's the worst ]we've ever seen," says Dan D. Thayer of the state's South Coast Water Management District in West Palm Beach.
On Feb. 14, government entomologists released hundreds of three-quarter-inch-wide adult moths of the species Austromuscotima camptonozale. In Australia, caterpillars of the moth eat enough Lygodium to keep it under control. Research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Invasive Plants Research Laboratory in Fort Lauderdale indicates that the moth doesn't have a similar appetite for the native U.S. plants it might encounter in Florida and nearby states.
Over the coming year, the lab plans to release 20,000 moths, says USDA's Robert W. Pemberton.--J.R.
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|Title Annotation:||Environment; ferns|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Mar 5, 2005|
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