DNA test finds Worcester link inconclusive, or, how Colin took on the USDA

Posted by Jeremy Shulkin

Way back when those six trees were found with Asian longhorned beetles in a Jamaica Plain arboretum, a USDA spokesperson told us that they were probably Worcester beetles who hitched a ride in a car driving to a nearby hospital. Commenter Colin thought that was ridiculous. Turns out, Colin may have been right.

From the Telegram:

A genetic analysis of Asian longhorned beetles collected in Boston has failed to conclusively tie the invasive insects to an infestation in Worcester.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that the Boston beetles showed genetic similarities to insects collected in Worcester. But the Boston beetles also were genetically similar to beetles found in New York and Asia.



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2 responses to “DNA test finds Worcester link inconclusive, or, how Colin took on the USDA

  1. Even though none of the adult wild birds will make the Asian Longhorned Beetle part of their regular diet, the fledgling birds most likely do eat them and their larvae, and spread the beetle eggs around the same way birds spread the flower and fruit seeds they eat.

    Anyone who has ever raised wild baby birds knows that their metabolism is so fast while they’re growing, that they eat constantly and will try to eat almost anything – and that everything they eat comes back out barely changed from its original form.

    I learned about this first-hand when I was taking care of an adorable little orphaned grackle that looked a lot like these two (the first one is what he looked like when I first found him hopping around in the road at dusk; and the second one is how he looked after a few weeks of feeding him around thirty times a day):

    Baby Grackle Eating More Grasshoppers

    Teenage Grackle Practicing Nesting

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