America currently has enough problems with invasive insects, surely releasing another nonnative insect within American borders is a bad idea. This may have been the case a century ago, as many scientists let invasive insects loose in America without having conducted proper research first. However, modern experts use history as an example of what sort of things to avoid when releasing an invasive insect into the environment. Also, modern science only allows entomologists to make judgements that are approved by other experts and supported by previous studies that are more accessible. These are just a few reasons as to why entomologist Scott Portman feels fine about releasing a South African fly into America. So why would anybody want to release an invasive insect species into a particular region? According to Portman, a fly known as a Cape ivy gall will eventually kill-off a toxic plant that has been growing rapidly in California.
The Cape ivy gall fly uses the Delairea odorata plant as its host, which also kills the plant. The plant is a South African creeper that is simply known as a Cape Ivy plant or vine. The Cape Ivy plant has been growing at a fast pace along parts of the California coast, killing all other forms of vegetation in its way. So far, ten thousand acres of the California coastline has become covered with Cape Ivy vines. This vine is extremely destructive, as its vines can grow to wrap around trees. This vine not only kills trees, but it is toxic to any animal who happens to take a few bites from its leaves. Portman, who works for the United States Department of Agriculture, is hoping that the Capy Ivy gall flies will eventually destroy these troublesome vines for good. These flies have been studied extensively, and Portman does not believe that he is risking damage to other forms of plant life.
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