Need a reason to remove garlic mustard ...?

... besides that it puts down poison into the soil that prevents native seeds from germinating?

Here's one involving butterflies.

The spread of garlic mustard is causing the West Virginia White butterfly (Pieris virginiensis) to decline in number.

This butterfly with translucent white wings depends crucially on native two-leaved toothwort (Cardamine diphylla) as its host plant. ( )

The specialist relationship between plant and insect means that W. Virginia Whites seek out two-leaved toothwort to lay eggs on. W. Virginia White caterpillars have specially evolved to eat the strawberry-like leaves of toothwort; they can survive on this and only one other toothwort called cutleaf toothwort (Cardamine contatenata) - ( ). Two-leaved toothwort also hosts the falcate orange-tip butterfly ( ). Specialized bees known as Andrena arabis collect pollen from Cardamines.

But now that garlic mustard has been introduced into North America, its spread is threatening West Virginia White survival. Unfortunately garlic mustard fools West Virginia Whites into laying eggs on it instead of its appropriate toothwort hosts. When West Virginia white caterpillars hatch on garlic mustard and try to feed, they die because they cannot digest garlic mustard leaves.

We now have a reason to reintroduce two-leaved toothwort and cutleaf toothwort into our woodland landscapes, while also removing garlic mustard -- it will save a butterfly's life.

Publicado el mayo 15, 2024 06:55 TARDE por ecrow ecrow


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