Meet the caterpillar slug, a potential future invader to India

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Purcell’s hunter slug or caterpillar slug, a native to South Africa, has now unfold to a number of components of India and a new research has predicted that it might quickly turn into an invasive species attacking western and Peninsular India.

The slug — Laevicaulis haroldi — is listed as an endangered species and was first described in 1980. Not a lot is thought about its ecology and in accordance to research, it entered India round 2010-2012 by accident, by worldwide commerce through Mumbai. Now, there are over 60 data from throughout the nation. It has been reported to feed on the leaves and bark of mulberry vegetation. The slug was additionally sighted on neem timber, papaya, and calotropis vegetation.

The analysis group from Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) studied the distribution of the species utilizing knowledge from the India Biodiversity Portal, iNaturalist web site, and former research.

They additionally studied future local weather change situations to decode which locations could also be susceptible to the slug assault. “We used two scenarios RCP 2.6 and RCP 8.5 from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Here, 2.6 is the best-case scenario where we control emissions and limit anthropogenic climate change. On the other hand, 8.5 represents the worst that could happen. We don’t follow any mitigation rules and have a high-risk future in terms of temperature and other climatic conditions,” explains Aravind N.A., corresponding creator of the paper not too long ago printed in Current Science. He is an Associate Professor at ATREE.

The fashions predicted that underneath each climatic situations, most components of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, southern components of Telangana, northeast Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, western Maharashtra, coastal Odisha, West Bengal, and a few states in North East India are extremely appropriate for the slug.

Economic loss

An worldwide research printed in March reported that invasive species have value practically $1.3 trillion {dollars} to the international financial system since 1970 and a median of $26.8 billion per 12 months. Also, a number of research have famous invasive alien species are answerable for the extinction of native and endemic species. “One theory of invasion biology is that these species thrive because they don’t have any major predators in the new region. Predators and prey in a locality evolve together and when a new species arrives, there is no one to eat it and keep a check on it. This is one of the reasons for the uncontrolled spread of invasive species,” provides Dr. Aravind.

The group writes that early detection and management are key for managing newly launched species earlier than they turn into invasive. “We need to capitalise on citizen scientists’ potential in locating hitherto unrecorded populations in a short period with limited resources. Awareness needs to be created among the forest managers, agriculturists, horticulturists and farmers to detect, manage and control this newly introduced species. Non-toxic methods of controlling this pest need to be developed. Also, a strict quarantine in the ports should be in place to avoid further introductions,” concludes the paper.

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