Avocado growers fear spread of fungus-bearing beetle

Will guacamole become a sometime food? After enjoying a season of near record-high avocado prices, farmers of Florida’s second-largest tropical fruit crop are now worried about a potential invasive pest, the Asian redbay ambrosia beetle.The beetle is moving Southward, carrying with it a fungus that can kill trees, including avocado trees. To date, there is no known treatment for the fungal disease, although some trees in Asia have a natural resistance to it.

The beetle has evolved a symbiotic relationship with the fungus. It carries it in a pouch in its mouth, inoculates trees with it, and then feeds off it as the fungus digests the tree.

from the Miami Herald


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