Scientists work to defeat gypsy moths

Nov 16, 2006

Ecologists have found a new pattern in the gypsy moth invasion across the Northeastern United States that might be useful in battling the moths.

The gypsy moth invasion is arguably the most intensively studied species invasion in history. Since the moths' accidental release near Boston in 1869, the species has swarmed across more than 1 million square miles of the United States, defoliating up to 12 million acres of forest each year.

By analyzing more than four decades' worth of data, Derek Johnson and colleagues at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette discovered the moths' spread occurs in pulses roughly four years apart.

That, say the scientists, is probably because moths that spread far beyond the current frontier cannot establish breeding populations unless they colonize in sufficient numbers.

Thus, says Johnson, moths can spread only at times when their populations are high and so targeting large groups of moths near the edges of the current distribution could help to slow their advance.

The study appears in the current issue of the journal Nature.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Evolution: The genetic connivances of digits and genitals

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Getting to the bottom of the zombie ant phenomenon

May 22, 2013

(Phys.org) —While unraveling a dramatic case of mind control, biologist David Hughes is taking calls from Hollywood—and gaining new insights into the role behavior plays in spreading disease.

Transgene insects: Scientists call for more open data

Feb 01, 2012

While genetically modified plants have already been introduced into the wild on a large scale in some parts of the world, the release of genetically modified animals is still at a relatively early stage. A ...

Recommended for you

Evolution: The genetic connivances of digits and genitals

3 hours ago

During the development of mammals, the growth and organization of digits are orchestrated by Hox genes, which are activated very early in precise regions of the embryo. These "architect genes" are themselves regulated by ...

Study: Volunteering can help save wildlife

3 hours ago

Participation of non-scientists as volunteers in conservation can play a significant role in saving wildlife, finds a new scientific research led by Duke University, USA, in collaboration with Wildlife Conservation ...

Researchers unwind the mysteries of the cellular clock

5 hours ago

Human existence is basically circadian. Most of us wake in the morning, sleep in the evening, and eat in between. Body temperature, metabolism, and hormone levels all fluctuate throughout the day, and it ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.