Saturday, July 08, 2006

Weekend Photoblogging


bug of the day
Originally uploaded by urtica.

Talk about a charismatic microfauna! The lily leaf beetle (Lilioceris lilii) is an interesting invasive species, and not just because of its striking red exterior. Accidentally introduced through the import of ornamental lily bulbs, the beetles, now found in Canada, New England and New York, will destroy any Asian lilies (Lilium spp.) in your yard if left to their own devices (note that this does not include the daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.).

Maybe you are thinking that there is an obvious solution here: don't plant Asian lilies, and the lily leaf beetles will just go away. As usual, it is not that simple. Not only will they feed on bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara), a common weed of yards and parks, but they will reproduce on native lily species as well.

This week's episode of the PBS series The Victory Garden, titled "Annual Pleasures," features a discussion of planting lilies and includes photo I took of a lily leaf beetle back in 2003. Since then, I have gotten rid of all of the Asian lilies that were growing in my yard, but as the photo above demonstrates, the beetles are still hanging around.

11 comments:

Xris said...

Jenn: I'm disturbed to read that it's already reached New York. This is the first I've heard. I'd only heard that it has been seen in Connecticut, and for that reason alone I've been on LLB alert this year.

Where has it been reported in New York? And a more general question: Are there good resources for tracking the extent and progression of invasive species over time?

Thanks for your wonderful blog. - Xris

Jenn said...

Xris,

The New York reference is documented in this map at Purdue University. A couple of years ago one of the students in my invasive species class wrote an excellent report about the lily leaf beetle, and in it she notes that there is some dispute as to whether the New York and northern Vermont sightings we due to the spread of the Massachusetts populations or due to the beetles in Montreal. Note that the map ignores the existence of the Canadian populations (in fact it ignores the existence of Canada!).

Anonymous said...

WOW! You're a nature bug!

a ladybug said...

I think it's prettier than most lilies. I say, Go Lily Leaf Beetle! Unless it bites. Does it bite? If it bites, then I say poison it into extinction.

Me, myself and I said...

That is one doody bug!

Brittanie said...

Very nice info! I love insects and spiders to death! I've been into them longer then I can remember and I'm only 14 and a girl! I have TONS of books about them and I know TONS about them.

Visiting your WONDERFUL blog has given me more interesting info on "invasive species"! And keep it up! And some more bug info would be great too! :)

Weldon said...

Very good picture !

Anonymous said...

nice bug..and also the blog!;]

Anonymous said...

Yes, it bites and then itches...........
I am having a hard time working in my garden at all times of the day.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if this bug also has spots on occasion? If so,I've seen a bunch of them up here in Ontario

Anonymous said...

They are now in Calgary, AB Canada as well.