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Scientists discover beetle that cures water fern menace

Scientists from Wits University and the Plant Protection Research Institute have developed a cure to one of South Africa's biggest water menaces: the water fern, which has been clogging waterways and suffocating lakes.

They have isolated a tiny beetle stenopelmus rufinasus that will eat the weed known as Azolla filiculoides and clear dams and lakes without hurting any other plants or animal life.

Mr Andrew McConnachie, a postgraduate Zoology student and his supervisor, Dr Marcus Byrne, received financial and logistical support from Dr Martin Hill of the PPRI, which is part of the Agricultural Research Council. The whole project has received funding from the Water Research Commission.


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Contact: Martha Molete
086martha@atlas.wits.ac.za
27-11-716-3525
University of the Witwatersrand
23-Jun-1999


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