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


South American passion killer arrives on our shore

South American passion killer arrives on our shores

A Colombian moth with a taste for banana passionfruit is being brought to New Zealand to combat this invasive weed.

Beautiful but dangerous: a banana passionfruit plant. Landcare Research has imported a potential new weapon against this invasive weed.

Banana passionfruit (Passiflora spp.) is native to South America, and was brought here for its beautiful flowers and exotic fruit. However, it soon turned ugly, establishing as a serious weed from North Cape to Stewart Island. Banana passionfruit invades forest margins and smothers plants and trees. The Department of Conservation ranks it as one of New Zealand's five worst environmental weeds.

Landcare Research technician Hugh Gourlay evaded Colombian guerrillas to locate the native moth Pyrausta perelegans in the country's southern valleys. He then arranged approvals from the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) and MAF to allow the moth to be sent to New Zealand to be tested as a biological control agent. Two hundred moths have arrived in Christchurch today.

"The insects will be taken directly to Landcare Research's quarantine facility at Lincoln," Mr Gourlay says. "They will undergo at least a year of rigorous testing to make sure that neither the moths nor their caterpillars will eat native New Zealand plants or valuable exotics. "If the testing is successful, an application will be made to ERMA for the moth's release."

Mr Gourlay says the moth is considered to be the number one pest of commercially grown banana passionfruit in Colombia.

"It eats the flowers and prevents the plants from setting seed, thereby stopping it from spreading.

"We hope it will have the same devastating impact on the plant in New Zealand as it has in Colombia."

Landcare Research is also investigating three other insects and a fungus that show potential to attack banana passionfruit.

"The more weapons we have in our armoury, the greater our chance of succeeding in controlling this serious threat to our native forests."

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


ScoopPro: Helping The Education Sector Get More Out Of Scoop

The ScoopPro professional license includes a suite of useful information tools for professional users of Scoop including some specifically for those in the education sector to make your Scoop experience better. More>>

Big Tax Bill Due: Destiny Church Charities Deregistered

The independent Charities Registration Board has decided to remove Destiny International Trust and Te Hahi o Nga Matamua Holdings Limited from the Charities Register on 20 December 2017 because of the charities’ persistent failure to meet their annual return obligations. More>>

57 Million Users' Data: Uber Breach "Utterly Preventatable"

Cybersecurity leader Centrify says the Uber data breach of 57 million customer and driver records - which the ride-hailing company hid for more than a year - was “utterly preventable”. More>>

Scoop 3.0: How You Can Help Scoop’s Evolution

We have big plans for 2018 as we look to expand our public interest journalism coverage, upgrade our publishing infrastructure and offer even more valuable business tools to commercial users of Scoop. More>>

Having A Cow? Dairy Product Prices Slide For Fourth Straight Auction

Dairy product prices fell at the Global Dairy Trade auction, retreating for the fourth straight auction amid signs of increased production... Whole milk powder fell 2.7 percent to US$2,778 a tonne. More>>


Statistics: Butter At Record $5.67/Block; High Vegetable Prices

Rising dairy prices have pushed food prices up 2.7 percent in the year to October 2017, Stats NZ said today. This followed a 3.0 percent increase in the year to September 2017. More>>


Science: New Research Finds Herbicides Cause Antibiotic Resistance

New University of Canterbury research confirms that the active ingredients of the commonly used herbicides, RoundUp, Kamba and 2,4-D (glyphosate, dicamba and 2,4-D, respectively), each alone cause antibiotic resistance at concentrations well below label application rates. More>>