Monday, October 06, 2003

The Mysterious Leaf Miner

Radio Netherland is reporting that the mysterious horse chestnut leaf-mining micromoth (Cameraria ohridella) is making its way across Europe, and has spread to the Ukraine and the UK. Originating in Southern Europe (Macedonia), the insect species does not appear to have been catalogued until as recently as the mid-1980s. The favorite host plant for the leaf miners, the horse chestnut ("Conker" tree, Aesculus hippocastanum) is suffering, as populations lose leaves, branches, and eventually entire trees. No one is sure what has caused the insect to spread, but scientists will be holding a symposium in Prague next year to discuss the ecology of the species and options for management. Here's hoping this creature never reaches the US! If you click on the Real Audio link you can hear the original broadcast of this story. Bonus points to Radio Netherland for using the insect's scientific name.

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