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Title: Biological Control of Pest Non-Marine Molluscs: A Pacific Perspective on Risks to Non-Target Organisms
Classic biological control of pest non-marine molluscs has a long history of disastrous outcomes, and despite claims to the contrary, few advances have been made to ensure that contemporary biocontrol efforts targeting molluscs are safe and effective. For more than half a century, malacologists have warned of the dangers in applying practices developed in the field of insect biological control, where biocontrol agents are often highly host-specific, to the use of generalist predators and parasites against non-marine mollusc pests. Unfortunately, many of the lessons that should have been learned from these failed biocontrol programs have not been rigorously applied to contemporary efforts. Here, we briefly review the failures of past non-marine mollusc biocontrol efforts in the Pacific islands and their adverse environmental impacts that continue to reverberate across ecosystems. We highlight the fact that none of these past programs has ever been demonstrated to be effective against targeted species, and at least two (the snails Euglandina spp. and the flatworm Platydemus manokwari) are implicated in the extinction of hundreds of snail species endemic to Pacific islands. We also highlight other recent efforts, including the proposed use of sarcophagid flies and nematodes in the genus Phasmarhabditis, that clearly illustrate the false more » claims that past bad practices are not being repeated. We are not making the claim that biocontrol programs can never be safe and effective. Instead, we hope that in highlighting the need for robust controls, clear and measurable definitions of success, and a broader understanding of ecosystem level interactions within a rigorous scientific framework are all necessary before claims of success can be made by biocontrol advocates. Without such amendments to contemporary biocontrol programs, it will be impossible to avoid repeating the failures of non-marine mollusc biocontrol programs to date. « less
Authors:
; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1656254 1656231 1837849 1902328
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10282013
Journal Name:
Insects
Volume:
12
Issue:
7
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
583
ISSN:
2075-4450
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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