Adelaidean

8 September 1997

Foreign moths to bite into SA weed problem

Thousands of moths from Spain, France and South Africa will be released in South Australia in a bid to combat two common species of introduced weeds:

  • Boneseed ( Chrysanthemoides monilifera, ASTERACEAE ), which which is found throughout the Adelaide Hills, and
  • White Horehound ( Marrubium vulgare, LAMIACEAE ), which covers an estimated 20 million hectares of land, including pasture.

    Over the next four months Craig Clarke, a PhD student with the University of Adelaide's Department of Crop Protection, will release more than 8000

  • Bitou Tip Moths ( Comostolopsis germana, GEOMETRIDAE ), and
  • Horehound Plume Moths ( Wheelaria spilodactylus, PTEROPHORIDAE ).

    In their natural habitats these moths eat the Boneseed and Horehound plants, helping to keep their numbers down. "Although it's unlikely that we'll ever eradicate the weeds completely in South Australia, we're trying to restore the balance," Mr Clarke says. "Hopefully with these moths we can begin to control the weeds and allow native vegetation to become more dominant."

    Similar biological control programs have been implemented in Victoria and New South Wales.

    MEDIA CONTACT: Mr Craig Clarke
    cclarke@waite.adelaide.edu.au,
    Crop Protection: (08) 8303 3678 or 8303 7269

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