Palm tree disease in Florida, USA transmitted by traveling bug from Jamaica
Palm Kernel & Nut
Published Sep 2, 2021
While many scientists have assumed these pathogens migrated to Florida in infected plants, Brian Bahder at the University of Florida wondered if the real culprits were the insects themselves. To test this suspicion, Bahder and his colleagues began by categorizing the insect's DNA in Florida, where they found four distinct groups.Next they looked beyond the United States and tested populations in Costa Rica, Colombia, and Jamaica, three places that were distinct and relatively isolated. They found different insect DNA in Costa Rica and Colombia. In Jamaica, however, they found an exact match to one of the groups in Florida. "This told us that either the bugs in Jamaica got there from Florida or the bugs from Jamaica got introduced to Florida," explained Bahder. "We followed up by looking at historical data from shipping records and reference insect collections and determined that the insects from Jamaica likely got introduced into Florida and brought the pathogen that causes lethal ...