Samoa Invasive

There was much excitement for Samoa’s newly launched Natural Enemies – Natural Solutions (NENS) project, with the discovery last week of a new natural enemy (biological control agent) already within Samoa’s borders. The Koster’s curse thrips (Liothrips urichi), is an insect that is known to be an effective natural enemy for controlling the invasive Koster’s curse weed (Miconia crenata previously known as Clidemia hirta) in the Pacific region. It was first used in Fiji in 1930, and 92 years later it has been found in Samoa. This means one less invasive weed to worry about, because the thrips is already effectively controlling the invasive Koster’s curse throughout much of Samoa. The thrips attack the growing shoot tips resulting in smaller, weaker plants and much less seed production. Infestations of the weed now only occur in habitats, like forests, which the thrips are less suited to.

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