Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I M IN YUR POTOMAC, EETIN YUR FISHEEZ!!!
Originally uploaded by urtica
The National Audubon Society apparently gives out these cute, cuddly snakehead fish (Channa sp., I assume) as part of their advocacy efforts. I didn't manage to score one so I had to settle for a photo.
This is the most appropriate post I could think of to celebrate the fact that I've been given a Thinking Blogger award from The Voltage Gate ;-).
Labels: animals, fish, outreach, snakehead
Monday, July 30, 2007
I am posting this from Washington D.C., where I am participating in an effort to educate the U.S. House and Senate about ballast water management. Specifically, we are aiming to encourage the support of House Bill 2830 and Senate Bill 1578 (or whatever amalgam of those two bills is eventually created). It has been more than ten years since the first National Aquatic Invasive Species Act was passed, and that has long expired. Since then, invasive species bills have come up in various incarnations about every two years, but die before they get approved (take a trip down memory lane by searching the ISW using the legalese tag). Seems to me that it's long past time we got back on the path to invasive species prevention, and ballast water management is a good a place as any to start...just ask anyone from the Great Lakes Region).
This event is being sponsored by the National Environmental Coalition on Invasive Species, a group made up of several non-profit organizations, including the Union of Concerned Scientists and the National Wildlife Federation. I've been personally charged with visiting Congress members from my home state, Massachusetts, to plead our case. If you are concerned about ballast invaders and feeling politically motivated, especially if you are from Massachusetts, take a moment to drop an email to your Senator or Representative and let them know you heard about this issue and that you care!
Labels: ballast, legalese
Saturday, July 28, 2007
This is Flowering Rush - not really a rush in the true sense, as it is its own family, the Butomaceae, rather than the Juncaceae. But if you know the form that a rush takes you can see the resemblance, minus the showy pink flowers. Butomus umbellatus
is an invasive species that has been on most of the state lists here in New England since the beginning, but I had never seen it before I walked by this one, part of a large patch next to Sapsucker Woods in New York.
Labels: Flickr, New York, photoblogging, plants
Friday, July 27, 2007
EBB And Stow
Last month while on our way back from a conference in New York, a group of us had the opportunity to stop at Schodack Island State Park. During our walk through the park we happened upon this odd contraption:
A closer inspection revealed this:
This is what is called a Lindgren Funnel Trap
, a series of plastic funnels stacked together with the intent of catching insects and sending them down to a collection container at the base. The collector was filled with a blue liquid, probably ethylene glycol (antifreeze, a preservative), and the little blue package stuck in one of the funnels likely contained some kind of attractant, maybe even alpha-pinene
, according to the Exotic Wood Borer Bark Beetle National Survey Field Manual
put out by APHIS (pdf).
Turns out that the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has been monitoring for EBBs, or "Exotic Bark Beetles" at locations all over the state for several years now. They are on the lookout for anything from the pine shoot beetle (Tomicus piniperda) to longhorn beetles to non-beetle type of insects, including the European wood-boring wasp (Sirex noctilio) recently placed on Michigan's radar. It's good to know New York and other states have an early detection protocol for insects in place, so that we'll have a better chance at fending off that "Next Big Thing"...too bad a trapping system like this won't work for plants :-).
Labels: beetles, early detection, insects, monitoring, New York
Thursday, July 26, 2007
The Naples Daily News is reporting that residents of a neighborhood in East Naples, Florida are just about fed up with their water hyacinth problem and the county's apparent lack of interest in dealing with it. The invasive water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) has almost completely covered the surface of a set of private canals adjacent to a lower-income area in East Naples known as Port-au-Prince. Apparently the inaction by Collier County has to do with that word "private" - the county says they only maintain public waterways (So who the heck owns these canals and why aren't they stepping up?). Residents want the county to spray herbicide to control the aquatic weeds but the county is reluctant to do. It sounds like they will actually consider it but not on a regular basis and not unless someone finds a way to pay for it. In the meantime, residents are forced to deal with burgeoning mosquito populations and possible fish kills caused by all the stagnation that water hyacinth facilitates.
Interested readers will want to check out this article detailing a Port-au-Prince resident's efforts to convince Collier County commissioners to help out, as well as this plea from another resident. Thanks to thingfish23 of The Taming of the Band-Aid for sending in the link to the story.
Labels: aquatic plants, Florida, insects, mosquitoes, plants
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Turns Out You Really Can Get Crabs From A Toilet Seat
UK residents impacted by the recent floods are now dealing with yet another crisis: Chinese mitten crabs (Eriocheir sinensis) crawling out of their toilets.
At first I thought this was a hoax along the lines of the infamous "toilet spider" emails that made the rounds in the late 1990s, but apparently it is real. Water levels have risen so high in the area of Hampton, England that the crabs are able to travel right up the pipes and out into people's homes. This is Local London has the story (along with a rather inappropriate photo of a mitten crab on a plate). The UK's Environment Agency is warning people to, well, keep their toilet seats down.
The crabs aren't just staying in the sewers either - The Richmond and Twickenham Times has this report about a woman who has seen dozens of them running around in her garden over the past week. Chinese mitten crabs were discovered in Europe back in the early 1900s, but until recently their populations in England had remained low. At the very least, this disaster has certainly raised their profile in the minds of homeowners across the UK.
Labels: Chinese mitten crab, crabs, crustaceans, England, flooding, natural disaster, UK
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
A report from the Hants Journal over at NovaNewsNow.com says that the brown longhorn spruce beetle (Tetropium fuscum) has actually been around in Canada almost a decade longer than entomologists originally thought. It turns out that specimens of the Eurasian invader were collected in 1990 but were misidentified as a native beetle in the same genus. It was not until 1999, when another infestation was discovered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that an entomologist went back to the 1990 samples and the mistake was discovered. That means the beetle had quite an opportunity to spread unheeded. There are now over a dozen sites in Nova Scotia where the beetle can be found, leading to quarantines of wood products and threatening the local logging industry. Unfortunately, Canada doesn't seem much closer than they were in the late 1990s to developing an effective treatment to protect its forests, so for now the Forest Service is continuing with its "containment by cutting" method of management. That incensed groups like Friends of Point Pleasant Park, who were quite active a few years ago when this story originally broke - they were convinced that the government was overreacting.
Update: In the comments, Monique brings up another example of an invasive species hiding by misidentification, a parasitic plant species in Texas (Orobanche ramosa). The point here is not to belittle the identification work that biologists are doing - I know it is a gargantuan task to keep track of the various characters that define plant species, and especially insect species! It is just interesting to consider whether focusing more resources towards rigorous sampling and cataloging of flora and fauna might benefit us in the long run if it enabled us to successfully prevent invasive species from becoming established.
The other case I can think of off the top of my head is the invasive aquatic plant Hydrilla that was found in Connecticut in 1989 but misidentified as another invasive, Egeria densa. The error was not discovered until 1996. Got more examples? Post them below!
Update 2: Thanks to Chris for pointing out various inaccuracies in the article (see comments on this post). This might have been a recycled news story but it is the first time the brown longhorn spruce beetle made it onto the ISW's radar!
Labels: beetles, Canada, forests, insects, prevention
Monday, July 23, 2007
ISW Podcast, Episode 2
Episode 2 of the Invasive Species Weblog Podcast is now ready for listening. I think I have improved the audio quality somewhat (but if anyone has some advice on how to lessen the punch of those P's and B's, I'd appreciate it), plus there is now a cool musical start and finish that fades in and out. If you'd like to listen to an audio version of last week's ISW posts, check it out here.
You can also grab the feed here, or subscribe through iTunes.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Fair Is Foul, And Fouling Is Unfair
ABC News Australia has a report about an interesting new innovation in the world of anti-fouling mechanisms (you didn't think there was an entire world devoted to such things, did you!). "Fouling" refers to the process of organisms attaching to and accumulating on a surface, such as the hull of a ship, and can be a major vector for introducing marine and freshwater aquatic organisms into new environments.
An Australian scientist from the Defence Science and Technology Organisation of Australia has been studying the way that mollusks keep other organisms from settling on the outside of their shells to get inspiration for new anti-fouling technologies. He found that the surfaces of mollusk shells can be defined by a variety of fine microstructures that appear to have evolved to make it harder for organisms like algae and barnacles to grab hold. Some mollusks also release an antibacterial agent to keep bacteria from filling in the gaps in their textured surfaces, further preventing other organisms from settling there. He hopes to use his research to develop more effective (and less toxic) anti-fouling surfaces for the hulls of ships. The current norm in anti-fouling technology is to paint the hull of the ship with a compound that releases copper or other chemicals toxic to marine invertebrates, though less toxic alternatives are also available.
Labels: Australia, boats, fouling, marine, shipping
Friday, July 20, 2007
From Russian, With Love
A while back, I posted about the spread of the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis, EAB) in Russia, but I didn't really have much to say about it, since the article I was referencing was in Russian and I could not translate it. Now I have discovered that John Peter Thompson of the Invasive Notes blog has poked and prodded his Russian wife until she translated the entire article. From the translation we learn that problems with Russian ash trees were first observed in 2002 - it seems to have taken scientists a while to nail down the cause as the EAB. More important may be the fact that the EAB has several different host plants, including not only several ash (Fraxinus) species, but walnut (Juglans) and elm (Ulmus) as well! It is definitely worth a moment to click over to John Peter's blog and read the post. Thanks,
John Peter! John Peter's wife! ;-)
Labels: beetles, emerald ash borer, insects, Russia
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Viral Hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) continues to take its toll across the Great Lakes Region. Newswise is reporting that numbers of native muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in the St. Lawrence River have plummeted over the past four years, in part due to VHS. Back in 2003, scientists at the State University of New York (SUNY), who have been monitoring muskellunge populations, caught more than 40 of the fish. This year, they've only caught four, and an investigation into the dozen or so dead fish collected in 2006 indicated several had been killed by the effects of VHS. Unfortunately most of those dead muskellunge were large mature females, which doesn't bode well for the species as a whole.
Click over to the news story to check out a video explaining VHS and showing the SUNY scientists at work. Thanks to budak for sending in a link to this story.
Labels: animals, fish, Great Lakes, VHS, virus
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Tangled Bank is Here!
A new edition of Tangled Bank, the best biology blog carnival on the nets (okay, I am biased), is up over at The Voltage Gate. Check it out!
Labels: carnival, Tangled Bank
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Denial Is Not a River In...oh wait...
The lawsuit that Kenyan citizens brought against their government for introducing the invasive plant they know as mathenge (Prosopis juliflora, also known as mesquite) is finally at trial, and the government is doing its best to shift the blame to someone else. The East African Standard is reporting that the Kenyan government is denying that it was behind the introduction of mathenge to the country, instead pointing a finger at the Food and Agricultural Organization. In fact the government is claiming that the citizens who sued them were aware of this and hid the facts from the judges hearing the case. Just in case this defense does not work, the government is also claiming that the citizens are not even justified in bringing the lawsuit, since mathenge is a "considerable and valuable resource for developing nations" and the town of Baringo, Kenya "has changed for the better and not for the worse with the introduction of biomass." Hmm...invasive, thorny, poisonous biomass. Baringo must have been pretty awful before the mathenge started spreading.
Interested readers will want to check out some of the other ISW posts about mathenge.
Labels: Africa, Kenya, legalese, mathenge, mesquite, plants
Monday, July 16, 2007
Yes, I Had The Audacity To Do That!
Give a blogger Audacity, and sooner or later she's going to start using it! That's right, there is now an podcast version of the Invasive Species Weblog, coming to you each week in a convenient audio nugget. It's still pretty raw, for sure, and I think I have a bit of work to do in order to get the sound quality up to par (thanks to Lelia for reminding me not to eat the mike ;-)). But hey, if you're sick of reading the ISW every day, you might enjoy getting your invasive species news from the podcast. You can grab the feed here, or subscribe through iTunes.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Weekend Blog Blogging
Recent rumblings in the blogosphere about invasive species:
Labels: twitter, weekend blog blogging
Friday, July 13, 2007
New Zoo Revue
Does being a blogger have its privileges? Perhaps. Last weekend, for example, I managed to use some connections to wrangle my way into the Franklin Park Zoo to see their cordoned-off giraffe exhibit up-close, under the guise of doing some invasive species reporting for the blog.
Actually, the trip was part of the massive knotweed extravaganza I was treating visiting photographer Koichi Watanabe to, in an effort to show him Japanese knotweed in Massachusetts in as many different habitats as possible. I had heard from a colleague a while ago that the Franklin Park Zoo was feeding knotweed to one of its giraffes, and the Roger Williams Zoo feeds it to their animals too, but I wanted to know more about it. Having Koichi here seemed like the perfect opportunity to find out.
So last Saturday my husband and I picked up Koichi, and the three of us met up with the Executive Director of the Franklin Park Coalition, Christine Poff, and active member Allan Ihrer. Before we headed to the zoo, Christine and Allan gave us a nice tour of the park...and when I say "nice" I mean "we saw so many different invasive plants my head was spinning" :-). There were a lot of native plants there too, and all in all the park is quite nice - I will definitely be heading back there for more visits this summer.
At noon Christine begged off, and the rest of our group headed over to the zoo and met up with Pearl Yusuf, the assistant curator for "Hooves and Horns." She took us down to the giraffes - surprisingly, through a locked gate! It turns out that the giraffe exhibit is currently under construction, and the public can only view the giraffes from afar. We lucked out and got to go right up to their pen.
There was already a bucket of fresh knotweed stems waiting nearby, next to a big pile of bundled dead stems, all of their leaves stripped off by hungry giraffes. Pearl started off by explaining the story behind the use of Japanese knotweed at the zoo. The zoo had been feeding knotweed to some of the animals for several years, as a treat. Then their male giraffe, Beau, developed a wasting disease, and turned down all kinds of food, until the Japanese knotweed finally perked his appetite back up. Since then, zookeepers have continued to feed knotweed to most of the hoofed animals at the zoo.
Some of you are probably wondering whether Japanese knotweed provides the animals with a balanced diet...Allan in fact asked that very question. It turns out that it is not meant to - it is meant to provide a source of forage for the hoofed animals, ruminants who need a constant source of forage to keep their stomachs full and properly digest their food.
The giraffes are also fed a fortified food made with grains, alfalfa and beet pulp, to meet their main nutritional needs. That is what is in those red buckets hanging on the fence in the photo to the right.
So where is all this Japanese knotweed coming from? Much of it is cut right from the adjacent Franklin Park. Lucky for the zoo, the park is infested with the stuff. That is where the Franklin Park Coalition comes in. Christine organizes teams to harvest the knotweed and the zoo comes by and scoops up piles of it to bring to the animals. They even end up freezing a lot of it so that they can continue to feed it to the giraffes through the winter months. Oddly, Beau loses his taste for Japanese knotweed around when it starts to flower, but will start eating it again at the end of the season after it has gone to seed. His mate, Jana, and their daughter, Autumn, aren't quite as picky.
A lesser news source might try to take the angle that this is going to solve the problem we have with invasive Japanese knotweed. But in reality, this isn't likely to make even the slightest dent in wild knotweed populations. In fact, the giraffes are fairly particular about how they'll eat it, and prefer long stems bundled together to mimic tree branches. To reduce Japanese knotweed growth in the wild by cutting, it has to be done several times per season, otherwise the rhizome biomass (the underground stems where the plant's resources are stored) would not be impacted. That would result in short, shrubby knotweed, something the giraffes would probably turn up their noses at.
But hey, if anyone knows where I can get a pet giraffe, we've got all this Japanese knotweed around, we might as well use it for something (they like autumn olive too!).
Labels: Japanese knotweed, Massachusetts, plants, zoo
Thursday, July 12, 2007
The Mining Gazette is reporting that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just added the silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) and largescale silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys harmandi) to the country's list of injurious species (via the Lacey Act). That means no more state-to-state transport and no more imports of these species into the USA from other countries. The silver carp's "poisson non grata" status becomes official on August 9th. It is the first carp to make the injurious species list (a similar query was made for black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus) back in 2003 but still doesn't seem to have gone anywhere).
Interested readers may want to travel back in the ISW time machine to fall 2006, when the request for comments regarding the status of the silver carp in the USA was published. If you want to go right to the USFWS ruling, the pdf is here.
Labels: carp, fish
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Plant Invader 600!
It's the Plant Invader 600! It slices, it dices, it identifies your invasive plant...if you live in Japan anyway.
When photographer Koichi Watanabe visited me last weekend for a tour of local Japanese knotweed sites, he brought along this book to show me an example of a Japanese guide to the weeds in their country. Now I want a copy...badly...even though I do not read Japanese.
Plant Invader 600 is everything you wish your local plant field guide could be: portable, flexible, sturdy, and full of over 1500 excellent glossy photos for 600 different species, including 300 images of seeds. The scientific names are in English, and there is a lot of Katakana in there as well, so I will be able to translate some of it on my own.
Luckily, I've managed to find it over at Amazon.jp. Shipping is going to be almost half the cost but it will totally be worth it, just to see all the American plants in there :-).
Update 7/16/07: I already received my copy, and it is truly awesome! Two thumbs up to DHL and to Amazon Japan, who has our American butts kicked in the minimalist packaging department (one extremely sturdy brown envelope, no box, no tape, and none of those stupid plastic air pillows).
Labels: book, Japan, plants
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
You can now access the full gallery of photos from my visit to Cutler Park, site of a release of Galerucella beetles as a biological control for purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). There are lots of photos of beetles and other creatures on purple loosestrife and also many images of the native wetland flora in the park. All 61 photos are covered under a Creative Commons license, which means they are free to use for non-commercial purposes, provided I am credited as the photographer.
Labels: beetles, biological control, insects, Massachusetts, photography, purple loosestrife
Monday, July 09, 2007
The Burlington Free Press is reporting that the algae Didymosphenia geminata, commonly known as Didymo or "rock snot," has been discovered in the Connecticut River in Vermont. A fishing guide apparently spotted the stuff growing on rocks and reported it to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.
This is the first known record of Didymo in the Northeastern USA, though the algae has been sighted repeatedly over the past few years in the Southeastern USA (Tennessee, for example). As folks in New Zealand will tell you, this is bad news for the Connecticut River! There is no known way of getting rid of Didymo, so Vermont is instead focusing on controlling its spread. Fisherman and anyone else using the Connecticut River is being asked to follow New Zealand's protocol for decontaminating gear and clothing, especially if they are near infested sites (for now, just Bloomfield, Vermont). Unfortunately, even the tiniest little piece of Didymo clinging to a pair of waders can go on to form large mats when introduced to a new location.
Thanks to Lynn M. for sending in a link to the story, and bonus points to the Burlington Free Press for using Didymo's scientific name!
Labels: algae, didymo, Vermont
Sunday, July 08, 2007
I am in your zoo, eatin' your knotweeds!
This is Beau the giraffe, munching on knotweed at the Franklin Park Zoo. A full blog post is coming soon!
Labels: Flickr, Japanese knotweed, Massachusetts, photoblogging, plants, zoo
Friday, July 06, 2007
Stalking The Wild Itadori
Tomorrow I am lucky enough to be playing guide to Koichi Watanabe, a photographer from Japan, who has come to Massachusetts to see Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica, Polygonum cuspidatum, Reynoutria japonica, etc. etc.). Of course, Japanese knotweed is from Japan, so why come here? Koichi has been traveling all over the world to photograph this invasive plant in a variety of locations and habitats. I'll be taking him on the grand tour, including stops at UMass Boston (where the knotweed grows in pots! :-)), Franklin Park (where the Franklin Park Coalition will be our guides), and sites in Metrowest Massachusetts where giant knotweed (Fallopia sachalinensis) and hybrid knotweed (Fallopia x bohemica) grow. While Koichi is honing his craft, I'll be collecting photos for the Life on the Japanese Knotweed project. Hopefully, when we get back, I'll also have photos of some giant beasties munching on knotweed...stay tuned! (Hint)
If you'd like to see some of Koichi's work, check out his his website, which includes an explanation of his search for "itadori."
Labels: Japanese knotweed, Massachusetts, photography, plants
Thursday, July 05, 2007
In The Bag
After years of dealing with all sorts of specimen packages sent in by their Weed Watchers volunteers, New Hampshire finally got smart and put out their own special aquatic plant sampling bags. I managed to get a sample from Amy Smagula, coordinator for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services' Exotic Species Program:
What a great idea! The front of each sturdy, ziploc-style bag has the address and instructions on how to prep the plant and when to mail it in. All the information the state needs is in a form on the back of the bag, just waiting for an eager volunteer and a Sharpie. Amy noted that the bags only ended up costing about 8 cents each - a bargain!
Labels: aquatic plants, New Hampshire, plants
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
New And Notable
The EPPO Reporting Service, in the April 2007 issue of their newsletter (.pdf only, unfortunately, so no direct links!), noted the following new arrivals:
- The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is spreading in both the European and Far East parts of Russia. Russian ash trees are not amused...and neither are the people that planted them. The import of many Russian street trees in Russia from Canada is being eyed as one possible vector. There is more information here, if you can read Russian.
- Australia is reporting the first known instances of downy mildew (Plasmopara obducens) infecting Impatiens plants (Impatiens walleriana). Well, "busy lizzy" is an invasive in its own right, so I am not sure how I feel about that one. It cannot be good for the Aussie nursery industry though.
- Germany recently reported the discovery of three newly naturalized aquatic plants in that country: variable-leaved milfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum), hygrophila (Hygrophila polysperma), and lizard's tail (Saururus cernuus).
We also have two new aquatic invasive plant discoveries in the USA, courtesy of the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Alert System
- Eurasian water milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) has been found in Montana, in the Noxon Reservoir and in the Cabinet Gorge Reservoir as well.
- Yellow floating heart (Nymphoides peltata) has been found in Nebraska, in a lake in Omaha.
Labels: aquatic plants, Australia, beetles, emerald ash borer, Germany, insects, Montana, NAS Alerts, Nebraska, pathogens, plants, Russia
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
You might have noticed the recent addition of yet another widget to the ISW's front page: a Twitter badge. Sometimes there is breaking invasive species news that happens hours before I can give it the full-post treatment. Other times there are invasive species stories that don't merit a full post. From now on instead of just waiting or passing stories over, I'll push the best of them out through Twitter. You can see the latest four posts on this website, go directly to the ISW's Twitter page, subscribe to the feed, or sign up for Twitter and get the latest in invasive species "tweets" sent directly to your cell phone or instant message client...because when the emerald ash borer arrives in your state, you should be the first to know! :-)
Labels: technology, twitter
Monday, July 02, 2007
Last Wednesday I headed out into the field to help out with the Massachusetts Purple Loosestrife Biocontrol Project
, headed by Beth Suedmeyer of the state's Wetland Restoration Program. Galerucella beetles are currently being used in many parts of the USA to control populations of the invasive wetland plant purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria
). The beetles, which were discovered in loosestrife's native range of Europe, were selected for rearing here in the USA because of their propensity to dine almost exclusively on purple loosestrife. Massachusetts has had an active beetle release program for several years now (see this ISW post
describing my visit to a project site with Fred SaintOurs, back in 2004).
In exchange for helping collect data from the monitoring plots, I got to oberve, photograph insects for the Life on the Purple Loosestrife project, get stung by a giant buck moth caterpillar(!), and see 7,500 Galerucella beetles get released in a wetland in Cutler Park, located along the Charles River in Dedham, MA.
Damon Carter, from the Charles River Watershed Association's Stream Team, was also there to volunteer his time. Here he is investigating a one meter square plot, checking for signs that the biocontrol beetles from last season are making an impact on this season's purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria
). We also looked at abundance and cover of purple loosestrife, native cattails (Typha
sp.), and the presence of other plant and insect species.
Galerucella are in the leaf beetle family (Chrysomelidae) and will munch on any of the above-ground loosestrife vegetation. To the right is a Galerucella larva that Damon found on the back of a purple loosestrife leaf - he found egg clusters as well. The presence of larvae and eggs is a good indicator that the beetles released last year are reproducing in the wild.
The 7,500 beetles slated to be released in Cutler Park were packed in ice cream containers filled with straw, and stored in ice packs to keep the beetles calm and cool on an excessively hot day(95'F, a new record!).
Beth set the buckets inside a few big patches of purple loosestrife and set the beetles free. The sight of two thousand beetles streaming out of a big bucket is pretty cool :-). Most of them headed upward (away from the bucket and probably towards the sunlight) as fast as they could.
No one is really sure what happens to the Galerucella
after they are released. Many are probably carried away in flight by the direction the wind was blowing. Others hang out in the area where they were released - if there is purple loosestrife around. These three beetles seemed to be stopping for a snack.
When all the Galerucella had emptied out of their containers, it was time to pack up and head home...but not before checking our boots and clothes for wayward beetles. Field workers and volunteers will return to check all the plots at the site again this fall.
Labels: beetles, biological control, Massachusetts, purple loosestrife
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Originally uploaded by Anita Gould.
Today we have a nice demo of the power of invasive ivy (Hedera sp.). Anita cleared a spot in her backyard and sowed some native wildflower seed, but the allelopathy of the ivy has forced a buffer zone of a foot or two where very little can grow.
You can read more about English ivy and allelopathy here (.pdf).
Labels: Flickr, ivy, photoblogging, plants, vines