Barcoding as a tool to track emerging pests: the case of the sugarcane long-horned beetle
Sugarcane long-horned beetle (Cacosceles newmannii) larva in a sugarcane stalk. Picture taken by Marion Javal.

Barcoding as a tool to track emerging pests: the case of the sugarcane long-horned beetle

Identifying agricultural crop pests quickly and reliably is critical to track their spread and to apply suitable control measures where needed. However, the identification of insect pests is often hampered by the lack of taxonomic expertise, especially in complex and poorly known tropical groups. DNA barcoding is often used as a supporting tool to identify species in the context of invertebrate pest management but relies on comprehensive and well-curated molecular databases.

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Australian redclaw crayfish quickly spreading in South Africa and Swaziland
High numbers of Australian redclaw crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus) caught in a trap in South Africa (Photos by Ana Nunes)

Australian redclaw crayfish quickly spreading in South Africa and Swaziland

A recent study, led by C·I·B Post-doc Ana Nunes, confirms the presence of established and widespread populations of the Australian redclaw crayfish in South Africa and Swaziland.

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Lack of human-assisted spread means Kudzu vine can be eradicated from SA
(a) Kudzu vine (Pueraria Montana var. lobata) invasion of a eucalyptus plantation close to the initial introduction site in Mpumalanga Province of South Africa; (b) Kudzu vine smothering native and alien riparian vegetation at the site of initial introduction (Photo credit: Sjirk Geerts)

Lack of human-assisted spread means Kudzu vine can be eradicated from SA

A recent study by C·I·B Associate, Sjirk Geerts (based at Cape Peninsula University of Technology), together with researchers from the C·I·B, SANBI’s Invasive Species Programme and the University of Cape Town, stressed the importance of human activities in the spread of some of the most notorious plant invaders.

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Beta diversity of montane ants
View up the valley from 1800 m asl. (Photo credit: Tom Bishop)

Beta diversity of montane ants

A recent study by C·I·B and University of Liverpool student Tom Bishop and supervisors Mark Robsertson, Berndt Janse van Rensburg and Catherine Parr has asked how the composition of ant groupings changes across environmental gradients.

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