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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Invasive rodents widely traded in the pet trade industry in Gauteng Province
Photograph credit: Shivambu N

Invasive rodents widely traded in the pet trade industry in Gauteng Province

The brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) and the house mouse (Mus musculus) are some of the world’s worst invasive rodent species. They are known to spread zoonotic diseases, damage crops and  household items, outcompete native species for food, and prey on some bird species.

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Riparian water availability affects potential nitrogen pollution by Black wattle
Black wattle, Acacia mearnsii (Photo credit: Suzaan Kritzinger-Klopper)

Riparian water availability affects potential nitrogen pollution by Black wattle

The leaf nitrogen dynamics of invading Black wattle (Acacia mearnsii) under conditions of varying water availability in fynbos riparian zones have not yet been examined. C·I·B student Casparus Crous (South African Environmental Observation Network), C·I·B Core Member Karen Esler and colleagues had a closer look at the nitrogen dynamics across fynbos riparian zones in the south-western Cape.

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Problem Plants and Alien Weeds of South Africa, by Clive Bromilow

Accessible information about invasive species, alien and indigenous weeds and has never been more critical, as these species increasingly threaten native habitats and agricultural production, and legislation requires that we act to control their impact and spread. 

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