Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Greedy new moth set to guzzle gorse


Greedy new moth set to guzzle gorse

Gorse, possibly New Zealand’s worst weed, may be in for a hard time, with the latest biological control agent brought in to attack the pesky shrub now successfully established.

The gorse colonial hard shoot moth (Pempelia genistella) is originally from Portugal and can only survive on gorse, so it poses no threat to native or other desirable plants. Its caterpillars damage gorse plants by feasting on the foliage in autumn, and on buds, shoots and flowers in spring.

Landcare Research biocontrol expert Lynley Hayes says the moth has been found in good numbers at one of the first release sites at Redcliffs, a coastal suburb of Christchurch. There are plans to check other release sites throughout New Zealand in future.

“When we introduce biological control agents there are no guarantees that they will survive in the wild, so the moths’ success in Christchurch is an important milestone for us,” Ms Hayes says.

“The moths are already more abundant at Redcliffs than you would typically find in their native Portugal, probably because their own specialist natural enemies do not occur in New Zealand. We can now start harvesting these moths and distributing them to new sites.”

This newest agent joins three other foliage feeders and two seed feeders that were also brought to New Zealand to assist in the battle against gorse. All are now established and most are still spreading, but are likely to take some years to achieve good coverage.

“In the meantime, we must be very patient and give the agents the best possible chance to go forth and multiply,” Ms Hayes says.

“We hope that eventually our combined biological control attack on gorse will reduce its vigour, and eventually lead to its decline. Modelling predictions suggest that biological control stands a good chance of being successful in the longer term.”


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Media Mega Merger: StuffMe Hearing Argues Over Moveable Feast

New Zealand's two largest news publishers are appealing against the Commerce Commission's rejection of the proposal to merge their operations. More>>

Elsewhere:


Approval: Northern Corridor Decision Released

The approval gives the green light to construction of the last link of Auckland’s Western Ring Route, providing an alternative route from South Auckland to the North Shore. More>>

ALSO:


Crown Accounts: $4.1 Billion Surplus

The New Zealand Government has achieved its third fiscal surplus in a row with the Crown accounts for the year ended 30 June 2017 showing an OBEGAL surplus of $4.1 billion, $2.2 billion stronger than last year, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says. More>>

ALSO:

Mycoplasma Bovis: One New Property Tests Positive

The newly identified property... was already under a Restricted Place notice under the Biosecurity Act. More>>

Accounting Scandal: Suspension Of Fuji Xerox From All-Of-Government Contract

General Manager of New Zealand Government Procurement John Ivil says, “FXNZ has been formally suspended from the Print Technology and Associated Services (PTAS) contract and terminated from the Office Supplies contract.” More>>