Thursday, January 04, 2007

On the Scale

Fox News posted a story not too long ago about yet another invasive species in Barbados. In addition to dealing with the problems caused by the invasion of giant African land snails (Achatina fulica), the island of Barbados is currently dealing with a scale insect (Icerya genistae) that attacks over a dozen different types of plants, from wild species to crops like peanut, pepper and lettuce. The origin of the scale insect, which has also been discovered recently in Florida, is still unclear. While early 20th century records are known from Brazil, more research needs to be done to confirm the insect's native range. Meanwhile, the major crop damage being caused by the scale has led to island-wide treatment with insecticides. More information is available in this press release from the Barbados government.

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