This is a very frightening discovery made by two researchers from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (), an Australian research organization. Two of the most devastating for crops have crossed to give birth to multiple , discovered in Brazil.
On the one hand, Helicoverpa armigera (moth): this butterfly, whose attack more than 100 plants including , tomato, or cotton, causes nearly three billion euros of losses per year globally. The larvae are introduced into the fruit to devour it from the inside and go unnoticed until harvest. This formidable has also developed a worrying to . On the other hand, Helicoverpa zea (“corn caterpillar”), a very close, is less dangerous but affects other types of crops (such as , or salads) and spreads very quickly. In other words, the combination of the two species forms an explosive cocktail.
Appeared in Brazil, these hybrids could migrate
In Brazil, the researchers found no fewer than nine different hybrids, most of them Helicoverpa zeahaving integratedof Helicoverpa armigera . Their study, published in the , is particularly alarmist. “This hybridization represents a new threat that is likely to spread around the world,” said Tom Walsh, one of the co-authors, interviewed by . These caterpillars attack a very wide variety of crops and seem able to withstand all attempts at control. “
According to Craig Anderson, the other coauthor, no less than 65% of USis potentially concerned. France is not immune either: with the human displacements and the commercial exchanges, the hybrid tracks could quickly land at home. Several have already been accidentally introduced into the territory, such as the Anatrachyntis rileyi that attacks maize and lemon trees.
Cultivated plants suffer between 20 and 30% of. Every year, the insects would cause 69 billion euros of world , according to a study of 2016. A figure that would be largely underestimated by the admission of its authors.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
Two caterpillar species, among the most dangerous for the crops, hybridized, making fear an invasion difficult to control.
The damage could be very high as these hybrids are resistant to pesticides and attack many plants.
Trade could promote their rapid spread to the world.