EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 01 - 2010 Num. article: 2010/010

Oxycarenus lavaterae found for the first time in the Netherlands

The NPPO of the Netherlands informed the EPPO Secretariat of the first record of Oxycarenus lavaterae (Heteroptera: Lygaeidae) on its territory. Aggregates of overwintering bugs were found in 2007 in a nursery on Tilia cordata plants which had been imported from Italy. Because O. lavaterae already occurs in Europe with a low economic impact and has the potential to spread naturally, no phytosanitary measures were taken in the Netherlands.
The pest status of Oxycarenus lavaterae in the Netherlands is officially declared as: Present, at low prevalence.

O. lavaterae feed and develop on plants belonging to the Malvaceae family, such as Althea, Hibiscus, Lavatera, and Malva sylvestris but do not cause particular damage. It is considered that 2 generations usually take place on these hosts during the vegetation period. Large adult colonies overwinter on trees, mainly on lime trees (Tilia americana, T. cordata, T. parviflora, T. platyphyllos), and less frequently on other species (Populus, Platanus, Aesculus hippocastanum). Adults do not cause plant damage but may be a nuisance in urban environments because of the high numbers of individuals.
Pictures of the insect can be viewed on the Internet:
Until recently, O. lavaterae was considered to occur only around the Mediterranean Basin and in Africa, but it is now spreading towards Northern and Central Europe. It is not known whether this is a consequence of global warming or an adaptation of the species to colder conditions than in its area of origin. The EPPO Secretariat has gathered the following tentative distribution list:
EPPO region: Austria (first found in 2001, now in Burgenland, Steiermark, Niederösterreich and Vienna), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria (1998), Croatia, Czech Republic (2004), France (south, but spreading towards the north since the 1970s), Germany (2004), Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia (1999), Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland (in the South but first found in 2004/2005 in Basel).
Africa: O. lavaterae is considered to be an Afrotropical insect but no specific data could be found on its distribution in Africa.


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