First record of Homalodisca vitripennis in Cook Islands
In March 2007, the presence of Homalodisca vitripennis (Homoptera: Cicadellidae – EPPO A1 List, a vector of Xylella fastidiosa) was discovered in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. The pest was initially found near the international airport but then spread to adjacent areas (covering approximately an area of 6 km long x 1 km wide). It is suspected that H. vitripennis entered Rarotonga via movements of ornamental plants from Tahiti where it was first detected in 1999. To control the pest, an egg parasitoid, Gonatocerus ahsmeadi (Hymenoptera: Myrmaridae) was imported from Tahiti and released on Rarotonga in October 2007. Preliminary results showed that the introduced parasitoid multiplied and spread quickly in areas where H. vitripennis was present, and that pest population significantly decreased. Finally, tests were carried out on leaf and insect samples to verify the absence of X. fastidiosa on Rarotonga. All results were negative.
The situation of Homalodisca vitripennis in Cook Islands can be described as follows: Present, first found in 2007 on Rarotonga.
Gunawardana D, Ashcroft T, Braithwaite M, Poeschko M (2008) Bio-control for glassy-winged sharpshooter in Cook Islands. MAF New Zealand, Biosecurity no. 85, 12-13.