First report of Ophraella communa in Italy on Ambrosia artemisiifolia
Ophraella communa (Coleoptera: Galerucinae) is recorded for the first time in Europe, in Italy. This species originates from the Nearctic region and is reported in China, the Republic of Korea, Japan and Taiwan. O. communa is an oligophagous insect that is reported to feed on some members of Asteraceae family, Heliantheae tribe.
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (Asteraceae, EPPO List of Invasive Alien Plants) is an invasive alien plant with high negative impacts reported on spring-sown crops (especially sunflower) and on human health (due to its highly allergenic pollen). Outbreaks of O. communa and damage to A. artemisiifolia were observed over a large area including Bergamo, Como, Cremona, Lecco, Lodi, Milano, Novara e Vercelli, Pavia and Varese. O. communa has been considered as a potential biological control agent against A. artemisiifolia for introduction into Australia and the species is successfully used as a biological control agent in China and in other countries. O. communa may therefore represent a biological control agent for A.;artemisiifolia in Europe.
Boriani M, Calvi M, Taddei A, Tantardini A, Cavagna B, Spadoni Andreani F, Montagna M, Bonini M, Lommen S ; Mϋller-Schärer H (2013) Ophraella communa segnalata in Italia su Ambrosia. L'Informatore agrario 34, p 61. [In Italian].
NPPO of Italy (2013-09).