June 2016

Giant Reed Affects Ground Arthropod Communities

Giant reed or Carrizo cane (Arundo donax) has been invading riparian and other habitats in Texas for decades. It can form pure stands, preventing native plants from growing. We might expect that native insects, spiders, and other arthropods that live near the surface of the ground or in the soil would be negatively affected by such a profound change in vegetation. Previous studies have documented that insect populations and diversity can in fact differ in areas with non-native plants compared to areas with native plants. At least one study, from California, has found that flying insect communities are more diverse and abundant in native vegetation than in Arundo-dominated habitat.

In a study published this month in Biological Invasions, researchers surveyed study plots in northeastern Spain to explore the effects of giant reed on riparian habitat features and on various aspects of soil surface and subsoil arthropod communities. Among the results reported, the study detected a significant increase in the abundance of springtails (Class Collembola), a type of detritus-eating hexapd related to insects. On the other hand, it also found that the abundance, body size and diversity of macroarthropods at order and family levels decreased. The researchers concluded that, i
n general, major changes in riparian food webs can occur when giant reed invades riparian habitat.

Read the full article.

soil organisms

Source: http://www.pamperedlawns.com/soil-food-web/.


Credit: Emily Stevenson, Invaders of Texas

Brush identification, control topic of July 7 webinar

Brush Identification and Control Measures will be the name of a July 7 natural resources webinar conducted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service ecosystem science and management unit.
According to Pete Flores, webinar coordinator in Corpus Christi, the webinar is a part of the Texas Range Webinar Series scheduled the first Thursday of each month from noon to 1 p.m.

This month's presenter is Dr. Bob Lyons, AgriLife Extension range specialist and
Associate Department Head of Ecosystem Science and Management at Texas A&M University, Uvalde. “Different species of brush are troublesome to landowners across Texas,” Lyons said. “Often times, the focus of webinars or presentations are on the main species, such as honey mesquite. This webinar will cover a number of invasive brush species and explain the best ways to control these plants on rangelands.”

The webinar is approved for one Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education unit in the integrated pest management category for pesticide applicators. Participants seeking Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units must pay a $10 fee on the website. For all others, there is no fee, Flores said.

This webinar and others in the series can be accessed at http://naturalresourcewebinars.tamu.edu. For more information on the webinars, contact Flores.

AgriLife Banner

$500 Grants Available for Invasive Plant Control

Texasinvasives.org is pleased to announce it is accepting applications for two $500 grants to control invasive plants in Texas. This program, an extension of the 2015 program, will reimburse the grantees for up to $500 of supplies and/or tools. (Unlike last year, grants will not be in the form of gift cards.) See below for more information.

Jesse Jones Nature center eradication photo

Credit: Rose Belzung, Jesse H. Jones Nature Center

Invasive Spotlight:
Soapberry Borer
(Agrilus prionurus)

A native of Mexico, the soapberry borer is a beetle that attacks western soapberry (Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii). Infested trees can be easily recognized by the exposed sapwood that results when birds and squirrels chip off the bark to feed on the larvae, leaving an accumulation of bark chips at the base of the tree. Infested trees die back from the top, and in response often produce many sprouts along the base of the trunk. Adults leave D-shaped exit holes when they emerge from the tree. Trees die within three years. The soapberry borer is now found in several counties in Texas.

The adult soapberry borer is about 1/2 to 1 inch long, shiny black, and distinctively marked with four small white spots on the wing covers. Larvae are flat-headed wood borers that may attain an inch in length as they mature. After feeding beneath the bark, the larvae bore into the wood to complete development and pupate.

Because of its negative impacts, the soapberry borer is a Report It! species as part of the Sentinel Pest Network, a component of Texasinvasives.org. Please report any infestations of soapberry borer you observe, particularly in counties not highlighted on this distribution map.

Follow this link for more information on the soapberry borer. Texas A&M Forest Service also has webpage about soapberry borer

soapberry borer soapberryborer alert

Credit: Penny Crispin                       Ron Billings

soapberry borer bark damage

Credit: Ronald F. Billings, Texas A&M Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Soapberry Borer Distribution Map 2015

2015 distribution of the soapberry borer.

More News

Texas Funding to Control Carrizo Cane Still Scarce
Although the Texas legislature and Governor Gregg Abbott agree that Carrizo cane (Arundo donax) along the Rio Grande needs to be eradicated for security reasons, the state legislature has still not funded the effort. Abbott's office will make $190,000 available from a federal grant, which will allow the treatment of about 700 acres. Learn more.

Barrier Screens Reduce Damage from Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
"Barrier screens with different mesh sizes were evaluated for their ability to exclude the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys), provide entry to beneficial species, and produce high marketable yield in organically grown bell peppers. Fine-mesh plots were determined to effectively exclude insects and reduce stink bug injury on peppers. For areas with smaller stink bug populations, lighter colored, and/or wider meshes were recommended, while finer meshes were found appropriate for areas with higher stink bug pressure." Learn more.

Garlic Mustard Populations Likely to Decline (Given Time)
"Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), an invasive plant affecting forested areas in the Midwestern and Eastern United States, secretes a chemical called sinigrin into soil to deter the growth of other plants and decrease competition. Researchers have found that sinigrin concentrations decrease as garlic mustard populations age, demonstrating evolutionary change due to ecological processes. They predict that, over decades, garlic mustard will decline and reach a balance with native species that re-colonize invaded areas." Learn more.

Invasive Species Threat to Agriculture Distributed Unevenly Across the Globe
The two countries with the largest potential cost from damages caused by invasive species, the U.S. and China, are also the countries that pose the greatest threat to other nations, according to a team of international researchers. Invasive species will have a proportionately larger effect on smaller, developing nations. Learn more.

Invasive Asian Carp Respond Negatively to Added Carbon Dioxide
"Bighead carp [Hypophthalmichthys nobilis] and silver carp [H. molitrix] are species of invasive Asian carp that threaten the Great Lakes. Adding carbon dioxide gas to water, a process similar to making carbonated soda water, could help control the movement and behavior of invasive carp in the Great Lakes basin, according to a recent study. Both carp species avoided carbon dioxide-infused water in a research pond." Learn more.

Invasiveness Advantages of Being a Clonal Plant
Some invasive plants reproduce by seed, some by growing vegetatively by producing clones, and some by both methods. A theoretical study proposes that reproducing clonally can make a species invasive when its clones die and improve the soil, making it possible for future clones to survive and thus allowing the plant to spread. Besides this "grow and die" strategy, clonal growth can also help the plant adapt. Learn more.

"Rock Snot" Algae Now Deemed Native
New research has determined that a type of algae called "rock snot" that was thought to be an invasive species in the Northeast is actually native to the northern United States. The aquatic algae, Didymosphenia geminate, has caused massive blooms in some U.S. rivers. Next month, Vermont officials will lift its ban on the use of felt-soled waders, instituted to help prevent the spread of the algae, apparently the first state to do so. Learn more.

Fijian Bees' Love for Exotic Plants Makes Fiji Especially Vulnerable to Invasive Species
Fijian bees are very effective in pollinating non-native invasive species. Unfortunately, this increases the rate at which invasives can spread and makes Fiji more vulnerable to exotic plant species. Learn more.

Lionfish Invading the Mediterranean
The southeastern coast of the island of Cyprus is now home to the lionfish (Pterois miles), a predatory fish originally from the Indo-Pacific and the Red Sea that has invaded the Caribbean and the western Atlantic. Apparently rising sea surface temperatures are allowing it to survive where it once could not. In addition, the widening and deepening of the Suez Canal may provide an opportunity for more lionfish to cross into the Mediterranean Sea. Learn more.

New Zealand Could Reduce Outbreaks of Invasive Species by Selectively Choosing Trade Partners
One way to lower the risk of importing new invasive species is to regulate trade with ceratin countries. A New Zealand study found that because different countries have different degrees of regulation and political stability, the threat they pose as sources of invasives as trading partners also varies. Those with the poorest regulations and greatest instability pose the highest threat, and selecting trading partners on this basis can reduce the number of invasive species entering the country by nine times. Learn more.


Project of the Month
It Could Be Yours!

The Texasinvasives.org team is pleased to announce competitive small grant support for supplies and equipment for invasive plant control to eligible applicants in Texas.

Eligible applicants include cities or counties, state agencies, tribal organizations, conservation districts, non-profit organizations or Invaders of Texas Citizen Science Program Satellite Groups.

Target populations of invasive plants are required to be validated observations within the Texasinvasives.org system and all treatment information must be recorded using the Eradicator Calculator treatment database.

To learn more about this new opportunity, please view the Request for Proposals. Proposal submission will be due by 5:00 pm CDT on August 15, 2016.

If you have questions, please contact hlandel@wildflower.org.

If you would like to highlight a successful invasive species project or nominate a special person to be highlighted in an upcoming iWire, please send the details to iwire@texasinvasives.org.


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Invaders of Texas Citizen Scientist Observations 2005-2014. 

Sentinel Pest Network and Invaders of Texas Species Workshops

Invaders of Texas workshops train volunteers to become citizen scientists to detect and report invasive species. Workshops, which are free, include information on the Sentinel Pest Network, which serves to increase the awareness and early detection of the Emerald Ash Borer, Cactus Moth, Asian Longhorned Beetle, and other pests of regulatory significance.

Workshops are tailored to meet the interests of your volunteer group, and supplementary session examples include an introduction to the TX Invaders mobile application and the Eradicator Calculator, a feature on Texasinvasives.org designed to help organize and track volunteer-based eradication efforts.

Upcoming Workshops:

Stay tuned!

For more information or to register to attend a free workshop, please visit the Workshop Page.