In DepthEcology

In a first, natural selection defeats a biocontrol insect

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Science  12 May 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6338, pp. 570
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6338.570

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Twenty years ago, Stephen Goldson thought he had beaten the Argentine stem weevil, an invasive insect that was devastating New Zealand's pastures. Goldson, an entomologist, had scoured the South American countryside and come up with an efficient weevil killer: a parasitoid wasp that at first killed up to 90% of the weevils. Now, the weevil has made a comeback and an examination of decades worth of data on its abundance over years has revealed that the weevil has outevolved its parasite, which produces asexually. Now, Goldson and his colleagues are studying weevil DNA to learn the secret of this comeback.