Where to find CABI’s open-access information on fall armyworm

cabi_invasives_faw

The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, is making headlines worldwide for all the wrong reasons. The caterpillar crop pest, native to the Americas, was reported in Africa for the first time last year and is now rapidly marching across the continent. It is a voracious pest of maize and other staple crops and has already destroyed tens of thousands of hectares of farmland. As such, it risks devastating smallholder livelihoods throughout Africa. Given that CABI scientists predict it could reach Europe and Asia in a matter of years, it looks set to quickly become a global problem.

The case for action against fall armyworm is overwhelming. On the ground, CABI will support national extension services to help farmers identify the pest quickly and accurately, contribute to awareness-raising and conduct studies to work out the best ways to control it that are not overly dependent on insecticides. Alongside these efforts, CABI also has a range of freely-available materials to help people understand and manage fall armyworm. Continue reading

New in August 2015 from the ISC

In August 2015 the following datasheets were published on CABI’s Invasive Species Compendium (ISC). You can explore the open-access ISC here: www.cabi.org/isc


August

Bidens frondosa (beggarticks) – native to North America, this herbaceous annual has a range of medicinal, herbal and decorative uses and been introduced throughout Europe as well as New Zealand and parts of Asia. The seeds can easily attach to fur and clothes, helping spread the plant to new areas.

Opuntia elatior (red-flower prickly pear) – the prickly pears are proving a prickly problem, with many Opuntia species invasive outside of their native range. O. elatior is less widespread than some, but has still been introduced to India, Southeast Asia, South Africa and Queensland. Biological control has had some success with this species.

Stictococcus vayssierei (cassava root mealybug) – found in Equatorial Africa, S. vayssieri feeds on the root system of the cassava plant, causing leaf-fall, wilting, tip dieback and occasionally death. Although it has only been reported in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the cassava root mealybug can cause yield losses of up to 100% and could pose a major threat to cassava production in Central Africa.

New in July 2015 from the ISC

In July 2015 the following datasheets were published on CABI’s Invasive Species Compendium (ISC). You can explore the open-access ISC here: www.cabi.org/isc

July invasivesAkebia quinata (five-leaf akebia) – a highly invasive, aggressive vine native to East Asia, A. quinata has been introduced as an ornamental to Canada, Europe, Oceania and the USA. It can outcompete native understory plants and young trees, and its dense growth can block sunlight and prevent the germination of native plants.

Geophagus brasiliensis (pearl cichlid) – an ornamental freshwater fish native to southeast Brazil, G. brasiliensis has been introduced to Australia, Florida, the Philippines and Taiwan. Its fast growth, opportunistic diet and broad environmental tolerances have allowed it to colonize new waterways, particularly artificial and disturbed habitats.

Rudbeckia laciniata (thimbleweed)R. laciniata is an ornamental perennial plant that has been introduced to China, Japan, New Zealand and Europe. Native to eastern North America, thimbleweed grows best in bright, humid areas, such as wetlands, forest edges and roadsides. By producing lots of seeds and spreading from rhizome fragments, it can form dense monocultures which outcompete native plants.

Other invasive species datasheets recently published include:

Brugmansia suaveolens (white angel’s trumpet)
Chrysemys picta (painted turtle)
Macaranga tanarius (parasol leaf tree)
Paederia foetida (skunkvine)
Umbra pygmaea (eastern mudminnow)

New in June 2015 from the ISC

It’s been a bumper month for the ISC, with 42 new datasheets published and the total number of full datasheets topping 2000. You can explore the open-access ISC here: www.cabi.org/isc


A selection of new datasheets published to the ISC in June 2015.
A selection of new datasheets published to the ISC in June 2015.

Bothriocephalus acheilognathi (Asian fish tapeworm) – in the past few decades this tapeworm has spread from its native East Asia to all continents except Antarctica, largely thanks to the aquaculture and pet trade. A parasite of over 200 fish species, infections of B. acheilognathi negatively impact the aquaculture industry and have been responsible for 90% mortality rate in grass carp in the past. Environmental impacts are still largely unknown, but the Asian fish tapeworm is thought to be adversely affecting some endangered species.

Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern) – an aggressive, fast-growing perennial fern that can form thick ground cover and outcompete native plants. Native to Asia, New Guinea and Polynesia, Petersen’s lady fern has been introduced as an ornamental and is now invasive in Madeira, the Azores, southeastern USA, southeastern Brazil and Hawaii.

Trioceros jacksonii (Jackson’s chameleon) – native to Kenya and Tanzania, this chameleon has been introduced via the pet trade to California and Hawaii. It may pose a threat to native Hawaiian insects and snails that it preys on.

Continue reading

On the trail of an ancient invasive

‘if men were not employed to prune these trees… they would cover the country, completely invading it.’

Sound familiar? It could be a description of any number of invasive trees, from the trumpet tree (Cecropia peltata) spreading through West Africa to the candlenut tree (Aleurites moluccanus) currently invading Pacific islands. But it’s actually an account by Mas’ūdī, writing over a thousand years ago in the Islamic year 332 (943 CE).

Ficus benjamina
Has Ficus been a problem for over a thousand years?    © K.M. Kochummen.

Born in Baghdad around 890 CE, Mas’ūdī was a prolific writer and adventurer extraordinaire. His world-history-meets-travelogue, The Meadows of Gold, contains many fantastic stories, from jewelled tombs to Viking battles, but it was his account of an apparent invasive – referred to simply as the banyan tree – that caught my attention, and I was keen to find out more.

Continue reading

New in May 2015 from the ISC

In May 2015 the following datasheets were published on CABI’s Invasive Species Compendium (ISC). You can explore the open-access ISC here: www.cabi.org/isc

Bubalis

Bubalis bubalis (Asian water buffalo) – domesticated herds of the Asian water buffalo are widely kept across Asia and southern Europe, where they are considered naturalised and not invasive. However, introduced populations in Australia and South America have proved more problematic. B. bubalis competes with cattle in South American grazing land, and has significant negative impacts on rainforests, floodplains and tropical savannahs in northern Australia.

Fibropapillomatosis – thought to be caused by Chelonid herpesvirus 5, fibropapillomatosis is a disease of sea turtles that causes internal and external tumours. Although considered benign, these tumours can hinder swimming, feeding, sight, buoyancy and even breathing, sometimes leading to death. Fibropapillomatosis occurs most commonly in green turtles, but has been reported in six other species, and is now considered a tropical pandemic, with infection rates above 70% in some regions.

Lygodium microphyllum (old world climbing fern) – native to tropical and subtropical Africa, Asia and Oceania, the old world climbing fern was introduced to the USA as an ornamental in the mid-1900s. It has aggressively invaded forested wetlands, particularly in Florida, where it smothers undergrowth, shrubs and even tall trees – you may recognise L. microphyllum as the rampant invasive in the banner at the top of the ISC homepage.

Other invasive species datasheets recently published include:

Alopecurus myosuroides (black-grass)

Ammophila arenaria (marram grass)

Batis maritima (saltwort)

Conium maculatum (poison hemlock)

Leiothrix lutea (red-billed leiothrix)

Linaria vulgaris (common toadflax)

Pastinaca sativa (parsnip)

Poecilia latipinna (sailfin molly)

Rhizophora mangle (red mangrove)

Salsola paulsenii (barbwire Russian thistle)

Stachytarpheta cayennensis (blue snakeweed)

Vicia villosa (hairy vetch)

New in April 2015 from the ISC

In April 2015 the following datasheets were published on CABI’s Invasive Species Compendium (ISC). You can explore the open-access ISC here: www.cabi.org/isc.


May

Triumfetta semitriloba (burweed) – this weedy perennial shrub species, native to large parts of tropical and subtropical America, has been introduced to a number of Pacific islands, where it is now invasive. Its international spread is something of a mystery, though the barbed burs allow local spread via passing animals and people to occur very easily.

Stachys arvensis (staggerweed) – native to parts of Europe, Asia and North Africa, this poisonous herb has been introduced to a range of habitats around the world. S. arvensis has become a serious weed in many places, with negative environmental and economic impacts. It can cause nervous disorders in livestock, especially sheep, causing them to stagger – hence the common name staggerweed.

Solanum mammosum (nipplefruit nightshade) – known by a veritable smorgasbord of colourful names, S. mammosum is an annual or short-lived perennial that has been introduced to Asia, Africa, the Americas and Pacific islands. It is reported invasive in Cuba, the Philippines, Fiji, Tonga and parts of Hawaii.

Other invasive species datasheets recently published include:

Lythrum maritimum (pukamole)

Opuntia engelmannii (cactus apple)

Salvia splendens (scarlet sage)

Solanum erianthum (potato tree)

Solanum rostratum (prickly nightshade)