Navigation Links
Gypsy moths wreak havoc, but their own enemies are not far behind
Date:6/10/2010

ITHACA, N.Y. If you live in a section of the country where gypsy moths are a relatively new menace, have no fear, help is not far behind.

Cornell University entomologist Ann Hajek told a national conference earlier this month that when the gypsy moth whose caterpillars have defoliated entire forests started spreading westward more than 100 years ago from New England to Wisconsin, its fungal and viral pathogens followed close behind.

"We were pretty surprised," Hajek says. "No one knew how long it took the pathogens to chase their hosts."

The findings are important because gypsy moth populations can develop unpredictably and erratically, with lots of caterpillars eating all the leaves off of most of the trees, Hajek told attendees at the Cornell-hosted Eighth Annual Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease workshop and conference, June 3-4, in Ithaca. Land managers, she says, can rest assured that pathogens will follow the migrating moths, providing natural controls.

Gypsy moths are slowly moving west across the United States after being introduced to Massachusetts from Europe in 1869. They migrate slowly because the females do not fly. By tracking the edges of the migration, where population densities are low, researchers have an opportunity to investigate how long it takes their viral and fungal pathogens to catch up, Hajek says.

The fungal pathogen, entomophaga maimaiga, was first reported in 1989 and attacks the caterpillars. The virus, lymantria dispar nucleopolyhedrovirus, which was accidentally introduced near Boston in 1906, also infects gypsy moth caterpillars.

Hajek and colleagues studied "leading edge" populations of moths and pathogens in central Wisconsin in 2005-07. They set pheromone traps west of the migrating population and then traveled east to lay traps to catch the flying males. Once their traps caught more than 74 moths each in single year, there was a more than 50 percent chance of finding the fungus in that area in the following year. When more than 252 moths were trapped in a year, there was more than 50 percent chance of finding the virus the next year.

"Our data show that the fungus spreads into lower density leading edge populations sooner than the virus, but the virus eventually colonizes the populations, too," Hajek says.

Fungal spores actively shoot out of the moth cadavers and disperse in the environment, thereby spreading quickly. The virus spreads from one caterpillar to another, and possibly via parasitoid flies and predators, which is a slower process, she said.

Hajek has also discovered that the efforts of land managers to release the pathogens along the leading edges of spreading moth populations are ineffective and unnecessary. Hajek and colleagues found no association between the release of pathogens nearby and presence of the pathogens among the moths.

"These results suggest that the pathogens are dispersing on their own and land managers don't need to release them in leading edge gypsy moth populations, because they'll get there on their own anyway," said Hajek.


'/>"/>

Contact: John Carberry
jjc338@cornell.edu
607-255-5353
Cornell University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Gypsy moth management made more efficient, cost-effective
2. Resilient gypsy moth continues to shrug off best pesticides
3. Moths with a nose for learning
4. Migratory moths may hitch their rides, but theyre anything but drifters
5. New discovery suggests mammoths survived in Britain until 14,000 years ago
6. Moths cloaked in color
7. After mastodons and mammoths, a transformed landscape
8. Why female moths are big and beautiful
9. ESF EURYI award winner aims to stop cancer cells reading their own DNA
10. Elephantnose fish see with their chin
11. Flies can turn off their immune response
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/29/2016)... 29, 2016   Neurotechnology , a ... recognition technologies, today released FingerCell 3.0, a ... solutions that run on low-power, low-memory microcontrollers. ... less than 128KB of memory, enabling it ... have limited on-board resources, such as: mobile ...
(Date:11/22/2016)... Minn. , Nov. 22, 2016   MedNet ... supports the entire spectrum of clinical research, is pleased ... Medical LiveWire Healthcare and Life Sciences Awards ... award caps off an unprecedented year of recognition and ... trials for over 15 years. iMedNet ...
(Date:11/16/2016)... 2016 Sensory Inc ., a ... for consumer electronics, and VeriTran , a ... industry, today announced a global partnership that will ... authenticate users of mobile banking and mobile payments ... software which requires no specialized biometric scanners, yet ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... DIEGO , Dec. 8, 2016   ... a leading commercial provider of clinically actionable liquid ... patients, announces that clinical data featuring its Target ... to tissue biopsy for the detection of actionable ... results from research sponsored by Sara Cannon Research ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... Dec. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - OncoQuest Inc. ("OncoQuest"), ... commercialization of immunotherapeutic products for the treatment of ... an Antibody Manufacturing Development Program with Cytovance Biologics ... for its oregovomab antibody product. Supported by recent ... clinical study in ovarian cancer patients, OncoQuest has ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... Dec. 7, 2016  Vyriad Inc. announced today the ... company,s Board of Directors. "We are delighted ... our business and develop our oncolytic viruses as the ... Stephen Russell , MD, PhD, CEO of Vyriad. ... our vision and passion for making a difference for ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... ... resource recovery solutions for industrial facilities, today announced that one of the nation’s ... to use Cambrian’s novel water-energy purchase agreement (WEPA). Under the WEPA, a first ...
Breaking Biology Technology: