Swallow-worts (Vincetoxicum nigrum and Vincetoxicum rossicum) are invasive species in North America that has been recorded in 21 states from the East to West Coast and extends into Ontario and Quebec in Canada. It is native to the East Mediterranean regions and so it has no native herbivores in North America. Black Swallowwort was first recorded in North America as early as 1854 in Massachusetts but has recently become more of a problem due to its unhindered population growth as well as its effect on Monarch butterfly populations.
Hypena opulenta is a moth, native to Europe, whose larvae are natural herbivores of swallow-wort species. In the URI Biocontrol Quarantine Lab, research continues to be conducted on the effectiveness of H. opulenta as a biocontrol agent of swallow-worts. A request for a permit to release Hypena opulenta was submitted in November 2011. The releases will then be monitored for establishment, impact, and spread with the eventual goal of establishing self-sustaining populations.
The Effect of the Invasive Weed Black Swallowwort on Monarch Butterfly Populations
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