Control freaks

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Science  10 Aug 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6402, pp. 542-545
DOI: 10.1126/science.361.6402.542

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  • Importance of proper identification of invasives; Error in Table of Contents photo
    • Donald C. Weber, Research Entomologist, USDA Agricultural Research Service
    • Other Contributors:
      • David A. Rider, University of North Dakota Dept. of Entomology
      • Eduardo I. Faúndez, Instituto de la Patagonia, Universidad de Magallanes

    We thank Kelly Servick for her excellent story “Control Freaks” concerning accidental introduction of natural enemies. One of the key points was proper identification of insects, including the natural enemies attacking invasive stink bugs.

    It’s ironic then, that the teaser photo for this story atop the Table of Contents (p. 527, http://science.sciencemag.org/content/sci/361/6402.toc.pdf ) is not correctly identified. This image does not portray the “young brown marmorated stinkbugs and eggs” described in the caption, but rather, eggs and nymphs of a yellow-spotted stink bug, <i>Erthesina</i> sp., also native to Asia (1). This species has not spread to other continents, but is nevertheless a significant fruit pest and an invasive threat, recently intercepted in New Zealand, Chile, and Georgia, USA (2-7).

    Stink bugs (Pentatomidae) are the third largest family of true bugs (Order Hemiptera, Suborder Heteroptera), including about 940 genera and almost 5000 described species (8). Some are pestiferous, some are beneficial predators, and many are neither. Their signature repulsive allomones are often accompanied by handsome warning coloration. In the last decades, invasive stink bug species such as brown marmorated stink bug and bagrada bug (<i>Bagrada hilaris</i>) have invaded vast regions in the Americas and Europe.

    Appreciation both for this biodiversity...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: error in article

    Classical biological control (CBC) like any application of science carries with it the risk of non-target effects. Much of the science done in CBC is the careful study of such risks and the regulatory frameworks around CBC manage these risks effectively in the various jurisdictions in which the science is undertaken.

    It is incorrect to lump the release of mongoose in Hawaii and cane toads in Australia with the scientific discipline of CBC, as these mongoose and cane toad releases were unregulated releases done by farmers/lay people. I am bit surprised to see this falsehood being repeated in a journal of the standing of Science; it would be valuable to publish an erratum to correct this.

    Competing Interests: None declared.