Printer Friendly

Winged solution to biopollution?

A half-century ago, a new type of fern arrived in Florida--probably having started out as stowaway spores in shipments of nursery plants from Southeast Asia. Today, from suburban backyards to remote locations in the Everglades, the Old World climbing fern (Lygodium microphyllum) infests some 100,000 acres in south Florida. In an effort to control the explosively spreading weed, state and federal officials are betting on a moth indigenous to Australia.

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.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Environment; ferns
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Mar 5, 2005
Words:205
Previous Article:Healing secret lies in blood.
Next Article:Cell transplants make gains versus diabetes.
Topics:


Related Articles
Foul ferns.
What good can nectar do a fern?
Genes hint that ferns proliferated in shade of flowering plants.
Fern Ridge beckons to budding birders.
Mel Gibson (news in brief, June 2005, p.30).
Birders invited to flock to Fern Ridge.
BRIEFLY.
WINGS & WINE FESTIVAL FEATURES FULL DAY OF EVENTS.
WET SIDE STORY.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters