Using a moth to slow the spread of an invasive plant. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.
The invasive Old World Climbing Fern was introduced to Florida’s ecosystem from southeast Asia around 1965. It soon dominated the state’s native vegetation, infesting more than 100,000 acres in a short amount of time. The fern spreads quickly and has destroyed numerous native plant populations, smothering trees and shrubs with vines that can grow up to 90 feet in length.
Now, researchers have found that one species of the fern-feeding snout moth is a successful deterrent to this invasive fern. ARS researchers studied the snout moth’s external wing patterns, dissected its insides, specifically the genitalia and wings, and compared it to other southeast Asian moth species. All of the snout moth’s immature stages, including larvae, and pupae, had never been seen before and were considered new to science.
ARS researchers and research partners for the state of Florida are working together to deter the spread of this invasive fern throughout the nation.
Listen to Sabrina Halvorson’s This Land Of Ours program here.
Aquatic and Invasive Plant Identification Series by the UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants ( http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu ) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Invasive Plant Management Section.
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.
Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.