Alien Invasion! Invasive Insect Species of the Midwest
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Invasive exotic species is an important topic in many areas of ecology, as they can greatly impact their non-native environment, often in a negative manner. This study combines the pop-culture idea of an alien with three introduced insects of concern found in the Midwest. The first, is the well known Gypsy Moth, Lymantia dispar (Linnaeus), a European native that has been in the United States since 1869. The caterpillar feeds in leaves of numerous different host trees, cause large amounts of defoliation. The Asian Longhorn beetle Anoplophora glabripennis, was introduced in New York City in 1996. The adult females deposit their eggs into bark of hardwood trees, and the larva then feed on the vascular tissue. Lastly, the Emerald Ash Borer, Agrilus planipennis (Fairmaire), whose larva also feed on the vascular tissue, is currently one of the most important exotic insect species of concern here in Michigan today. The aim of this project is to explore these fascinating and strange qualities of the bugs, and to depict how these creepy little creatures can greatly influence the environment they inhabit. After close physical examination of the specimens with the microscope, the complexity and intricacy of every tiny body part was apparent. Bugs really do look like aliens!
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