Tuesday, November 14, 2006

When did the USDA hire MacGyver?

The headline of the National Geographic News article says it all: "Alien Beetles Tracked with "Ray Guns," Dental Floss." Hoping to better understand the ways that invasive Asian longhorn beetles (Anoplophora glabripennis) spread, U.S. researchers traveled to China and studied them on their home turf. To track dispersal patterns, the scientists tied tracking tags (transponders) onto the beetles using dental floss, then used a harmonic radar (.pdf, the "ray gun" part) to follow the tags. Turns out the average beetle only moved about 10 feet per day, though the researchers note that this likely increases during breeding season. I wonder whether the dispersal patterns differ in the places where the beetles have been introduced?

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