Save Our Waterways Now volunteers aren't the only ones out there tackling Madeira vine in the Ithaca Creek catchment. Recently Biodiversity Australia has started it's release of Plectonycha correntina, a small bug that feeds on the leaves of Madeira vine.
Host specificity testing of Plectonycha correntina began in 2008 to determine if they would spread to and ruin other species. After testing on 37 species it was determined that only Madeira or Malabar Spinach Basella alba could host the little guys. While they can survive on Malabar Spinach it is a poorer host and the colony will not survive past a generation. Malabar Spinach is only at risk if it is near a Madeira infestation currently being colonized by Plectonycha correntina.
Rob and the corporate working bee crew on 24 June had the good fortune of running into Liz Snow of Biodiversity Australia while she was out releasing some of the bushcare-bugs. She encouraged us to get in touch with Biodiversity Australia if we find any severely affected Madeira sites for her to unleash the little critters on. Keep an eye out for Plectonycha correntina next time you're weeding on your local stretch of creek.
Liz Snow: email@example.com