Homalodisca vitripennis (H. coagulata) is spreading in the Pacific
Homalodisca vitripennis* (Homoptera: Cicadellidae – EPPO A1 List) is an efficient vector of Xylella fastidiosa (EPPO A1 List). H. vitripennis originates from the south-east of the USA and north-east of Mexico. It was introduced into California (US) in 1998 and this was followed by an upsurge of X. fastidiosa disease outbreaks, in particular on grapevine (causing Pierce disease).
In 1999, H. vitripennis was discovered for the first time in French Polynesia on the Island of Tahiti (EPPO RS 2002/090). Within a few years, the pest invaded almost all islands in the Society Island group (Moorea in 2002 - Tahaa, Raiatea, Huahine, Bora Bora, Maupiti from 2001 to 2005), in the Marquesas Islands (Nuku Hiva in 2004), and in the Austral Islands (Tubuai and Rurutu in 2005). It is noted that in Tahiti and Moorea, pest populations have reached very high levels exceeding those observed in its native range or even in California. X. fastidiosa does not occur in French Polynesia but as a sap feeder H. vitripennis causes direct damage to many plants (e.g. Cordyline sp., Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Citrus sp., Hibiscus tiliaceus, Eucalyptus, Macadamia, Gardenia tahitiensis). In addition, H. vitripennis can be a nuisance to human populations (large amounts of honeydew are produced under attacked shade trees and the pest can invade houses at night when attracted by light). Studies were done in French Polynesia on the use of a parasitoid (Gonatocerus ashmeadi, Hymenoptera: Mymaridae) to control H. vitripennis populations, and preliminary results were satisfactory.
It was also reported that H. vitripennis was first found in 2004 in Hawaii (US) and in 2005 on the Easter Island (Chile).
* It has recently been published that the valid name of this pest should be Homalodisca vitripennis and not H. coagulata (Takiya et al., 2006).
Takiya DM, McKamey SH, Cavichioli RR (2006) Validity of Homalodisca and of H. vitripennis as the name for glassy-winged sharpshooter (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae: Cicadellinae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 99(4), 648-655.
- South Pacific Research Station website. University of California, Berkeley. Lutte biologique contre la cicadelle pisseuse en Polynésie française. http://gwss.mooreascience.org/repartition1.htm
- IPP website (FAO). Control de Homalodisca coagulata en Isla de Pascua. January 2006. https://www.ippc.int/id/118199?language=en