August 15, 2008

Invasive Insects: This Time, It's Personal

Asian Longhorned beetle quarantine area around WorcesterThe Asian longhorned beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis, has arrived in Massachusetts. In fact, it seems to have popped up in the Worcester area and begun to spread. The infestation zone now extends as far as West Boylston according to a story in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. The map you see accompanying this update shows the quarantine area.

Because I am a rather sappy animal lover who can find admirable qualities in nearly every living thing, I admit to having a certain soft spot for certain invasive animal species. The Cuban tree frog, for instance, I found rather friendly and endearing when I used to encounter them in Florida. I could never bring myself to kill one. I once allowed one to ride around on my head, in fact.

If there are any Asian longhorned beetles reading this entry, however, be advised that I feel no such sentiments toward you. In particular, you are hereby warned to stay far away from Wachusett Mountain. If I find you in my study site on the south slope, I will show no mercy. You will be crushed and/or turned over to the authorities and/or fed to a large, spiny lizard.

Anoplophora glabripennis, the Asian longhorned beetleAsian longhorned beetles kill hardwood trees. That, in turn, destroys polypore habitat which consequently destroys the favored living conditions for more benign Coleoptera like Diaperis maculata and Bolitotherus cornutus and that, my fine speckled arthropods, screws with my research.

You do not want to screw with my research. Anything that interferes with it is to be eliminated.

Were I Captain Kirk, I'd be shaking my fist and shouting "Khaaaaaaaan!" about now. Then again, shouting "Anoplophora!" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

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