Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Asian Moth Invades Britain?

The pest from Asia: An Euonymus Leaf Notcher spotted in Britain.

Unfortunately, a voracious Asian moth, the Euonymus Leaf Notcher, has begun its invasion of Great Britain. The Leaf Notcher absolutely devours one of the popular garden shrubs in Britain - the euonymus.

A six-year-old girl was the first to discover this pest. She spotted the distinctive-looking moth on the windowsill of her Berkshire home. The moth was already dead; but, the large furry body with wasp-like markings was new to her.

Natural history experts warn it may herald the start of an invasion.

The half-inch-long leaf notchers eat Euonymus (spindles as they're known in Britain). These versatile shrubs are found in millions of gardens nationwide.

One of the many species of the Euonymus shrub.

Katie Dobbins took the moth to her father Julian to be identified. He, too, was stumped so he posted a picture on a wildlife website run by the Open University in hopes someone could identify it.

He ran this message with the photo.

"My daughter found this strange moth on our windowsill. Very keen to find out what it is… and why it is so furry."

It only took 24 hours for Open University researcher Martin Harvey to identify the destructive moth. It was confirmed by an expert in Taiwan.

Mr Harvey said: "This find may just be a one-off, or it could be a harbinger of establishment in the UK. The moth is regarded as a pest in America and Asia, but its food plants are restricted to ornamental shrubs."

Via MailOnline

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