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Eucalyptus Snout Beetle

Context:

Scientists have found a natural remedy to protect eucalyptus forest plantations from a pest, eucalyptus snout beetle, which is known to cause serious damage to eucalypts.

Relevance:

GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the article:

  1. About Eucalyptus Snout Beetle (Eucalyptus Weevil)
  2. Recent Research

About Eucalyptus Snout Beetle (Eucalyptus Weevil):

Identification and Behavior:

  • The Eucalyptus Snout Beetle, also known as the eucalyptus weevil, is a leaf-feeding beetle recognized for its role as a significant defoliator of eucalyptus trees.
  • Indigenous to Australia, this beetle has spread to numerous countries worldwide wherever eucalypts are cultivated.

Feeding Habits and Damage:

  • This beetle poses a threat as it feeds on eucalyptus leaves, buds, and shoots, leading to stunted growth, defoliation, and substantial economic losses.
  • Its extensive flight capabilities, often facilitated through the transportation of forest products, contribute to the potential for widespread damage over large areas.

Control Measures:

  • Micro-wasps, particularly Anaphes spp, have been employed as a control measure, albeit being a costly solution.
  • The need for an alternative and more cost-effective control method prompted scientists to explore naturally occurring pathogenic fungi.

Recent Research:

  • Scientists undertook research to identify naturally occurring pathogenic fungi for controlling the Eucalyptus Snout Beetle.
  • Fungi were collected from naturally infected beetles, enhancing their adaptability to environmental conditions and increasing efficiency in controlling beetle populations.
  • Beauveria bassiana emerged as a highly effective fungus, showcasing a 100% mortality rate for the beetles through both contact and ingestion.
  • The identified fungi hold promise for developing bio-pesticides, promoting sustainable forestry practices through integrated pest management.
  • The potential applications extend to other countries grappling with severe damage caused by this insect, providing a more environmentally friendly solution.

-Source: Down to Earth


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