Saturday, September 11, 2004

Unlucky Loosestrife

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit a site where they're testing the effectiveness of the galerucella beetle (Galerucella calmariensis) as a biocontrol for purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). Noted entomologist Fred SaintOurs agreed to let me travel with him to the site, a wetland in Lexington, MA (little did I know it was just an excuse to get some volunteer work out of me! - just kidding Fred). The Purple Loosestrife Bio-control Monitoring Project has been going on in Massachusetts for several years; the beetles were released at the Lexington site in fall 2002. My visit was late in the season, so there were no beetles around, but I did see a lot of leaf damage, as shown in the photo below: photo of leaf damage on purple loosestrife

Fred noted that there were a few plots where very little purple loosestrife was left. There were also plots where the native cattails were rebounding, though as you can see in this photo, there was still some loosestrife to be reckoned with. Until this trip I had no idea purple loosestrife could be so tall: photo o Fred and loosestrife and cattails in a plot

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