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Subject: Second Australian insect released to control Melaleuca in Florida (USA)
Date posted: May 16, 2002
Source: University of Florida
In late April, university and government researchers released the melaleuca psyllid, Boreioglycaspis melaleucae, a bio-control agent meant to slow or stop the spread of Australian melaleuca trees in south Florida. Melaleuca quinquenervia, a noxious weed, was introduced to Florida in the mid-1880's and has since wreaked havoc with native plant and animal communities and threatens the integrity of the entire Everglades ecosystem. The weevil Oxyops vitiosa was released in 1997, and is helping to control melaleuca by feeding on leaves and flower buds. Boreioglycaspis melaleucae, by feeding on melaleuca's sap, will complement damage imposed by the O. vitiosa. However, unlike the weevil, the melaleuca psyllid is not restricted to dry habitats and can invade anywhere melaleuca grows.