Luperomorpha xanthodera: a new flea beetle recently introduced into the EPPO region
During the last decade, the presence of a new flea beetle species, Luperomorpha xanthodera (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), has been reported from several European countries on ornamental plants. L. xanthodera is a polyphagous species which originates from China. In Europe, it was first reported in 2003 in the United Kingdom on roses (in garden centres). In Italy, the insect was first reported in 2006 in Toscana as Luperomorpha nigripennis (see EPPO RS 2007/195), but subsequently identified as L. xanthodera. The presence of this new species has also been reported from France (2008), the Netherlands (2008, on roses in garden centres), Switzerland, Germany (2009), Hungary (2010, on ornamental plants grown in containers which had been imported from Italy), and Austria (2011, in a private garden near Salzburg). Its currently known geographical distribution can be summarized as follows:
Asia: China (no details).
EPPO region: Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom.
L. xanthodera is a polyphagous species; in European countries it has been reported on many ornamental species (e.g. Citrus, Datura arborea, Euonymus japonicus, Hibiscus, Nerium oleander, Origanum vulgare, Pittosporum tobira, Pyracantha, Robinia hispida, Rosa, Trachelospermum jasminoides, Yucca gloriosa). Studies conducted in Toscana (IT) have concluded that adults of L. xanthodera predominantly feed on flowers (anthophagous), whereas larvae are rhizophagous. It was also observed that L. xanthodera could complete two generations per year and overwintered in the soil. In the studied nurseries, feeding activities of adults on flowers only affected the petals but did not impair fruit-set (e.g. on citrus). It was noted that damage on flowers could be extensive but that this aesthetic damage did not produce significant economic loss in marketing the plants (as in these nurseries the most important criteria was the age/size of the plants). In addition, none of the numerous host plants infested by adults showed signs of damage to the root system, even when numerous larvae were detected. For the moment, it seems that L. xanthodera is a pest of minor economic importance. However, it probably has a high potential for further spread, considering its wide host range and the importance of the trade of ornamental plants.
Pictures of L. xanthodera can be viewed on the Internet:
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