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Old World climbing fern, Lygodium microphyllum

Lygodium microphyllum covering a forest

Lygodium microphyllum

The United States Department of Agriculture is funding research in Australia to find natural enemies of Old World climbing fern, Lygodium microphyllum, which is listed as one of the most serious invasive weeds in Florida. The vine climbs high into trees and over shrubs, smothering whole plant communities. Exploration for biocontrol agents is underway in Australia and Southeast Asia.

Twenty-two herbivores have been collected so far and two moths are in the University of Florida/ARS quarantine in Gainesville for final host range testing. A third moth species from New Caledonia is in culture in Brisbane quarantine facilities and a forth species, a stem borer, is under development in Thailand.

A mite which causes leaf curling and stunts new growth has been collected from throughout the range of L. microphyllum in Australia and Asia.

Supported by: The United States Department of Agriculture

moth Lygodium cataclysta
Leaf curling mite