Invasive beetle could threaten Ecuador’s eucalyptus plantations

The eucalyptus snout beetle (Gonipterus scutellatus)

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The eucalyptus snout beetle – a species named for its habit of defoliating the flowering plant – has been officially identified in Ecuador for the first time. The discovery suggests that the insect is in the process of spreading across South America, which might threaten the continent’s eucalyptus population – an important economic resource.

The beetle (Gonipterus scutellatus) is native to eastern Australia and Tasmania. But since the 19th century, it has spread elsewhere, including to New Zealand and Europe, hitching rides on cargo ships.

On several …

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