It's been well-documented that invasive species are threatening the Galapagos Islands' native flora and fauna, with alien or exotic species making up as much as 23% of the archipelago's insect fauna. One of these insect invaders, the sap-sucking cottony cushion scale, is being brought under control by the lady bug beetle.
"'Populations of cottony cushion scale in 2002 were so high and spread across so many islands that several endemic and native plant populations were thought to be going into decline because of heavy infestations,' said Hoddle, a biocontrol specialist.
"Combating the cottony cushion scale was a joint effort between the Charles Darwin Research Foundation and the Galapagos Islands National Park Service
"'Soon after release, the lady bug beetle readily established and spread,' Hoddle said. 'Subsequent monitoring indicated that it was having the desired effect on the cottony cushion scale populations, which were collapsing because of feeding by larval and adult lady bug beetles. Our project was to follow up to see whether the lady bug beetle is still exerting high levels of control over the cottony cushion scale and whether the project was safe as predicted by lab studies.'"
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