Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Stop the predatory, snakehead fish -- with a fork!

There was a great article recently on MSN News reporting that chefs are putting snakehead fish in its place...on the menu. The snakehead is a non-native invasive fish whose numbers are increasing in waterways in the Potomac River basin in Virginia and Maryland. It is voracious and eats almost anything in its path. Restaurants are now returning the favor by serving up this fish that has a dense white mild flavored flesh to their patrons. Be sure to try this tasty dish next time you are in the area.

Brett Billings,
US Fish and Wildlife Service,

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

AntKey Released!!

Antkey seeks to mitigate the spread of established introduced ants and prevent the incursion of new introductions by providing quarantine personnel, inspectors, and conservation biologists with a user-friendly, digital, identification tool specifically designed for non-specialists. Antkey focuses on over 115 ant species that are introduced, invasive, or commonly intercepted in the United States including Hawaii. Features include an interactive Lucid key, dynamically generated species pages, a searchable media collection of over 1,150 images, over 70 live video clips of introduced ants, a fully illustrated glossary with over 400 terms, a searchable database of introduced ant literature, and over 12,000 specimen records of introduced ants imported from Antweb ( The Scratchpads platform allows users to participate in the discussion forums and post comments on nearly every page.

Antkey is ITP’s first tool developed in the platform of Scratchpads (, a social networking platform that allows communities to bring taxonomic information together without the limitations of traditional paper-based publications. Web systems and content can be developed and updated in minutes so websites can reflect the latest knowledge of a particular group. The platform also allows multiple authors to create and edit content without using any html code. The Scratchpads platform relies on the content management system Drupal ( for its underlying architecture.

Antkey can be accessed at:  [Scratchpads is currently in beta version. Please be patient waiting for a page to load.]

To view additional digital identification aids, via ITP’s ID Source, for ants (Formicidae), visit ID-Source Formicidae

To access other digital identification tools published by ITP, via ID Source, visit ID-Source ITP

Monday, November 5, 2012

Tell us what you need from extension in the south!!!

The Southern IPM Center wants to know what people consider a proirity for extension. If you are a person managing pests and you know the one thing that if extension put out would solve one of the biggest problems in your industry, then this survey is for you.

The Southern Region IPM Center has a relatively small pool of funds available, so we hope, with your help, to identify a "short list" of projects that will optimize delivery of positive impacts. You can access the survey at

The survey is fairly short. You will be asked to describe one or two situations in which pest management could be improved if only the managers were better-informed or educated about a new method or tactic. We welcome responses about either agricultural or non-agricultural settings. Responses are anonymous, but the survey does include a few questions about your interest in IPM.

We expect to keep this survey open for approximately two weeks after which responses will be analyzed and results made public. The Southern IPM Center will use results to inform our own funding program. We and our partners may use the information in other ways, including prioritization of future projects.

At the end of the survey, you will have the opportunity to sign up for SIPMC's mailing list, as well as subscribe to blogs, Twitter feed and Facebook. You must already have an account with Twitter to follow the Twitter feed.

If you have questions about the survey, please direct them to Jim VanKirk at, 919-513-8179, or Rosemary Hallberg at or 919-513-8182.

Your participation in this survey will help us focus our priorities for our next RFA and fund projects that will help us generate big impacts.

Please forward this e-mail to anyone that you think would have an interest in participating in the survey, especially Extension agents and other IPM professionals in your state.