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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The Table Mountain fire: what we can learn from the main drivers of wildfires

The fires that started on 18 April 2021 on the slopes of Table Mountain in South Africa destroyed several buildings on the campus of the University of Cape Town. These included the Jagger Library, as well as the restaurant at Rhodes Memorial, the historic Mostert’s Mill, and several residential houses. This was a tragic event that will affect many people for a long time.

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The invasion continues: Alien species expected to increase by 36% until 2050

Compared to the year 2005, the number of alien species is expected to increase by 36% by the middle of this century. The majority of these newcomers are insects. These are the results of a study by an international team of researchers led by Dr Hanno Seebens of the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center in Germany.

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New monitoring and reporting framework aims to reduce the impacts of invasive alien species in World Heritage Sites
The Kogelberg Nature Reserve in the Cape Floristic Region World Heritage Site (photo credit Ross Shackleton)

New monitoring and reporting framework aims to reduce the impacts of invasive alien species in World Heritage Sites

World Heritage Sites contain cultural and natural heritage of outstanding value to humanity. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has inscribed 1,121 sites worldwide, of which nine are in South Africa—including four natural sites: the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas; the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park; Vredefort Dome; and Barberton Makhonjwa Mountain Land.

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