Be prepared: Prioritising invasive species for strategic prevention in Durban, South Africa

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  • June 24, 2019
  • While exploring the way alien species invade cities around the world, South African PhD student Ashlyn L. Padayachee (University of KwaZulu-Natal, UKZN) and her supervisors, Serban Proches (UKZN) and John Wilson (SANBI and Stellenbosch University) remember suddenly being stricken. What they realised was that while cities were gradually starting to prepare for climate change, their responses to […]

    Living room conservation: Gaming & virtual reality for insect and ecosystem conservation

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  • April 18, 2019
  • Gaming and virtual reality could bridge the gap between urban societies and nature, thereby paving the way to insect conservation by the means of education and participation. This is what an interdisciplinary team at Florida International University strive to achieve by developing a virtual reality game (desktop version also available) dedicated to insect and plant species. Focused on imperiled butterflies, their innovative idea: Butterfly World 1.0, is described in the open-access journal Rethinking Ecology.

    New improvements to how impacts of non-native species are assessed recommended

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  • April 1, 2019
  • The Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) has led an international team of non-native species (NNS) specialists who have compiled a list of recommendations to improve the way in which the impact of a range of invasive pests – such as the tomato leaf miner Tuta absoluta – are assessed, potentially helping towards ensuring greater global food […]

    Non-native pest-controlling wasp identified in Canada prior to formal approval

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  • February 25, 2019
  • Thought to be Canada’s most promising potential defense against the brown marmorated stink bug – a globally spreading agricultural pest native to Asia – the samurai wasp (another species from Asia and natural parasitoid of the former) has been considered for future release in the country in recent years. However, prior to any formal decision […]

    The Widow Next Door: Where is the globally invasive Noble False Widow settling next?

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  • February 12, 2019
  • Spiders are one of the most successful groups of ‘invaders’ on the planet. Out of over 47,000 species of spiders known today, there are some that tend to follow humans across the globe and settle in habitats far away from their native homelands. A particularly notorious example is the species Steatoda nobilis, the Noble False […]

    Scientists forecast where is the highly invasive fall armyworm to strike next

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  • January 9, 2019
  • Staple and economically important crops throughout the world could be at serious risk if efficient measures are not taken soon Known to be feeding on many economically important crops cultured across the world, including maize, rice, sugarcane, sorghum, beet, tomato, potato, cotton and pasture grasses, the larvae of the native to the Americas fall armyworm […]

    Tiny moth from Asia spreading fast on Siberian elms in eastern North America

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  • September 17, 2018
  • In 2010, moth collector James Vargo began finding numerous specimens of a hitherto unknown pygmy moth in his light traps on his property in Indiana, USA. When handed to Erik van Nieukerken, researcher at Naturalis Biodiversity Center (Leiden, the Netherlands) and specialist in pygmy moths (family Nepticulidae), the scientist failed to identify it as a previously known […]

    How did coyotes conquer North America?

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  • May 23, 2018
  • Coyotes now live across North America, from Alaska to Panama, California to Maine. But where they came from, and when, has been debated for decades. Using museum specimens and fossil records, researchers from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and North Carolina State University have produced a comprehensive (and unprecedented) range history of the […]

    Scientists dive into museum collections to reveal the invasion route of a small crustacean

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  • May 8, 2018
  • Biological invasions are widely recognised as one of the most significant components of global change. Far-reaching and fast-spreading, they often have harmful effects on biodiversity. Therefore, acquiring knowledge of potentially invasive non-native species is crucial in current research. In particular, it is important that we enhance our understanding of the impact of such invasions. To […]

    Double trouble: Invasive insect species overlooked as a result of a shared name

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  • February 8, 2018
  • An invasive leaf-mining moth, feeding on cornelian cherry, has been gradually expanding its distributional range from its native Central Europe northwards for a period likely longer than 60 years. During that period, it has remained under the cover of a taxonomic confusion, while going by a name shared with another species that feeds on common […]