Newswise is reporting about a new research paper documenting the unintended consequences following the introduction of a biological control to the U.S. over a century ago. A parasitic fly (Compsilura concinnata) was one of over 100 organisms brought to the country in an attempt to control the spongy moth (Lymantria dispar). It turned out to be a generalist predator, and is now known to attack more than 180 different butterfly and moth species.
One of its unintended targets was another invasive species, the browntail moth (Euproctis chrysorrhoea). The browntail was considered a serious pest a hundred years ago, but with the introduction of the fly, its populations were being kept in check by the mid-1900s (much better results than with the still problematic spongy moth, but then the browntail moth has enjoyed a coastal resurgence over the past few years.).
For the original article, or at least the abstract of it, you can check out the current issue of the journal Ecology (there is also some supplemental information available here).
Tip o' the virtual hat to budak for posting a link to this story. Sorry to be so far behind this week but Blogger has been flakier than a croissant :-).
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