Spotted-wing Drosophila

The spotted-wing drosophila is an invasive vinegar fly from Asia. It was first found in California in 2008 and has moved east across the U.S.

The University Maryland Extension recently asked to be notified if the spotted-wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) is found on fruit in Maryland.

An invasive vinegar fly from Asia, this insect has moved rapidly east across the U.S. since being found in 2008 infesting berries in California. While it infests a wide range of fruits, it appears to prefer cherries, grapes and other soft fruit.

The Extension has noted that effective chemical controls include pyrethroids and carbamates and some organophosphates. It is similar in size to other vinegar and fruit flies, with about a 1/8-inch length and a 1/4-inch wingspan. Its most notable feature is the presence of dark spots at the tip of the wings.

Appalachian-Blue Ridge forests

The forest found in the western part of Frederick County is part of one of the most diverse temperate forest regions in the world, the Appalachian-Blue Ridge forest ecosystem.

This ecoregion extends from Alabama to New York and covers an area approximately the size of South Dakota. Only the temperate forests found in central China compare to this region for the sheer number of plant and animal species present, many of which are endemic, found only in this area. The species diversity has to do with the geology and climate of this area.

The Appalachian--Blue Ridge mountain chain is ancient, with very long ridges and valleys, most of which have a north-south orientation. These mountains are relatively small with not much timberline so that they can support abundant forest, and they have many geologic features.

This part of the country also has a humid climate, which is good for plant growth and promotes diversity of species. This stable and lush environment has allowed many species to evolve under relatively steady conditions without a lot of disturbances.

The long ridges also acted as barriers and travel corridors for north-south movement. During the last Ice Age, this north-south alignment of mountains allowed species to move southward and escape extinction. Many of the north-south plant and animal species converged in the high elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains, creating an extremely diverse area.

There are nearly 400 species of trees and shrubs, 200 species of birds, and 75 mammal species found in this region. The streams and lakes in this area have what many ecologists consider the most diverse freshwater ecosystems in the world, with numerous species of fish, mussels, snails, crayfish, amphibians and other invertebrates present.

There are four rare and endangered species of animals found in this region: the red wolf, red shouldered hawk, loggerhead shrike and Virginia big-eared bat.

It is estimated that 90 percent of this region has been disturbed since the time of European settlement. Some of the threats to this area include habitat fragmentation, development, introduction of alien species and pollution. About 20 percent of this land has a protected status in public domain or under easement.

Article by FCFCDB

Nature Notes for 8/21/2011