Monday, December 21, 2009

Rhino Beetle May Have Spread to Saipan

Rhino Beetle May Have Spread to Saipan

Guam - The coconut rhinocerous beetle is on the move and may have spread to the Northern Marianas.

In addition to this it's now attacking expensive ornamental palm trees.

Coconut Rhinocerous Beetle Eradication Ream leader Roland Quitugua says that they have received some credible information indicating the presence of the rhino beetle on Saipan. Quitugua says they are working with authorities on Saipan to rhino beetles have made it to the northern mariana island. In the meantime here on Guam it's become apparent that the coconut rhino beetle is spreading to other palm trees. Quitugua says they've attacked both the palma brava palm tree which is a skinny palm tree that locals often cut down and use as decoration during party's and the expesive and highly popular foxtail palm.

According to Quitugua the palma brava trees were attacked in the Nimitz Hill area while the affected foxtail palm was hit in the Oka point area. Although the beetle has proven that it can feed on other palm trees Quitugua says that at least for now they are only breeding in dead coconut trees. Quitugua believes that the eradication program is still working and still limiting the population of rhino beetles on Guam. He says that with the use of a rhino beetle specific virus, beetle traps, sanitation efforts and the recently implemented rhino sniffing dogs Guam still has a fighting chance against this new invasive species.

Written by :
Clynt Ridgell

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