EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 05 - 2003 Num. article: 2003/081

Introduction of Diocalandra frumenti into Islas Canarias (ES): addition to the EPPO Alert List

In March 1998, a new pest of palm trees, Diocalandra frumenti (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) was discovered on Phoenix canariensis at Maspalomas on the island of Gran Canaria (Islas Canarias, Spain). So far, it has not invaded new areas in Islas Canarias, but the affected zone in Maspalomas has increased since the first discovery. Larvae of D. frumenti bore galleries in the palms causing first yellowing of the fronds, and then collapse of the crown. This is the first report of this insect in this part of the world. Considering the threat it could represent to palm-growing countries around the Mediterranean Basin, the EPPO Secretariat felt that D. frumenti should be added to the EPPO Alert List.

Diocalandra frumenti (Coleoptera: Curculionidae - four-spotted coconut weevil)
Why: Diocalandra frumenti (syn: Diocalandra stigmaticollis) was observed for the first time in 1998 on Phoenix canariensis in the south of Gran Canaria (Islas Canarias, Spain). As this palm borer can cause damage to many palm species (including date palms and many ornamental species) it is felt that it could represent a threat to palm-growing countries around the Mediterranean Basin.

EPPO region: Spain. Found in 1998 in the south of Gran Canaria, Islas Canarias (González Núñez et al., 2002). More data is needed on the severiy of the attacks on P. canariensis.
Africa: Madagascar, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania (including Zanzibar).
Asia: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan (Okinawa: Ryukyu archipelago; Moritomo, 1985), Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand.
Oceania: Australia (Northern Territory, Queensland), Guam, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands.
South America: Ecuador.

On which plants: Economically important palm species such as: Cocos nucifera, Phoenix dactylifera, P. canariensis, Elaeis guineensis. In the literature a large number of other palm species are mentioned, such as: Archontophoenix alexandrea, Chrysalidocarpus lutescens, Howea belmoreana, Mascarena verchaffeltii, Phoenix loureirii, Phoenix roebelenii, Roystonea regia.

Damage: Larvae of D. frumenti bore galleries in roots, petioles, inflorescences and fruits of palms. Gummy exudates are usually seen near the gallery entrance. Larvae cause premature yellowing and collapse of palm fronds, emergence holes in new and old fronds, premature shedding of fruits. Death of mature P. canariensis is reported from Australia. Eggs are laid in various sites: inflorescences, base of petioles or peduncles, in cracks near adventitious roots at the base of the stem. Larvae develop within the palm tree. Pupation takes place within the larval gallery but no cocoon is made. Adults are small (6-8 mm long), shiny black weevils with four large reddish to brownish-yellow spots on the elytra.

Dissemination: No data is available on natural spread, but adults can move over at least small distances. Exchange of infested plants or palms can ensure spread of the pest over long distances.

Pathway: Plants for planting, palms from countries where D. frumenti occurs.

Possible risks: Palm trees are grown around the Mediterranean Basin for fruit production (P. dactylifera) or ornamental purposes (P. canariensis and many other species). More data is needed on the economic impact of D. frumenti, in particular on date palms, but tree mortality is reported at least on P. canariensis. Control of D. frumenti is difficult because of its hidden mode of life. For the same reason, detection of the insect is difficult. The example of another serious palm borer Rhynchophorus ferrugineus recently introduced into Spain and currently spreading in the Near East has shown that this type of insect is likely to be moved unnoticed on palm material.

EPPO RS 2003/080
Panel review date        -        Entry date 2003-05


Anonymous (1968) CABI Distribution maps of pests, Diocalandra frumenti, Map no. 249. CABI, Wallingford, UK.
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