EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 05 - 2015 Num. article: 2015/098

Orientus ishidae: a potential phytoplasma vector spreading in the EPPO region

During the last decades several invasive Auchenorrhyncha species have been introduced into the EPPO region, such as Metcalfa pruinosa (Hemiptera: Flatidae) and Scaphoideus titanus (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae - vector of grapevine flavescence dorée). Another species originating from Asia, Orientus ishidae (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) has now been reported from several European countries and is currently spreading in the EPPO region. This species has also been introduced in North America (Canada and USA) during the last century. It was first recorded in 1919 in New Jersey (US) on Aralia spinosa. At that time, it had been suspected that it had been introduced with nursery stock imported from Japan. Recent taxonomic studies have revealed that the taxon previously referred to as O. ishidae comprises two distinct species: specimens examined from Japan, USA and European countries belonged to O. ishidae, but those from China (Liaoning) and the Eastern Maritime region of Russia (Amur) corresponded to a new species, Orientus amurensis. O. ishidae is a highly polyphagous species which has been observed in association with many woody plants and deciduous trees (e.g. Acer, Aralia, Betula, Carpinus, Corylus, Fagus, Hedera, Gleditsia Malus, Populus, Prunus, Salix, Tilia), as well as some herbaceous plants (e.g. Urtica). O. ishidae is a sap-feeder, although some damage (i.e. uniform browning of apple and hazel foliage) has occasionally been reported in the USA, it is not considered to be a major pest of cultivated plants. The main concern raised by the introduction of O. ishidae in the EPPO region is the possible transmission of phytoplasma diseases. Experiments conducted in the 1970s in the USA have showed that O. ishidae could transmit Peach X disease (associated with ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma pruni’) to celery plants. Recent studies conducted in Italy, Slovenia and Switzerland detected the presence of Grapevine flavescence dorée in specimens of O. ishidae collected from diseased vineyards. However, more research is needed to verify the capacity of O. ishidae to transmit the pathogen, and evaluate its potential role in the phytoplasma disease epidemiology.

From the literature, the spread of O. ishidae in the EPPO region could be retraced as indicated below. In most cases, specimens were found in urban or suburban environments (often caught in light or yellow sticky traps), and sometimes found along rivers and woodland margins.

  • Italy (1998): the first specimens were collected in 1998/2002 in a residential area in Milano (Lombardia region). Additional specimens were collected in 2004 from a single weeping willow tree (Salix babylonica) near Lucca (Toscana region), and in 2011 in vineyards affected by flavescence dorée near Varese (Lombardia region).

  • Switzerland (2000): O. ishidae was first recorded from Switzerland in 2000 (specimens were collected in a light trap in Basel). Its presence was also observed in vineyards in the Southern part of the country.
  • Germany (2002): the first specimens were found during summer 2002 in Weil am Rhein (Baden-Württemberg) and in the city of Dresden (Sachsen). O. ishidae then rapidly spread to several other German lander (Bayern, Berlin, Hessen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Sachsen-Anhalt).
  • Slovenia (2002): the first specimens were caught in 2002 on yellow sticky traps in Nova Gorica but could not be identified at that time. In July 2004, a substantial population of O. ishidae was found in Ljubljana on Salix spp. and Nova Gorica on various fruit trees (see EPPO RS 2006/160). Since its first detection, the insect has spread across the country.
  • Czech Republic (2004): the first specimens were collected in near Brno in 2004 (on the banks of a stream ‘Leskava Brook’), and in the city of Prague in 2006 (in an apartment attracted by light).
  • Austria (2007): the first specimen was collected in 2007 in Graz.
  • France (2009): O. ishidae was first observed in Alsace in 2009 but it stated that the insect had probably been present prior to this.
  • Hungary (2010): the first specimen was caught in 2010 in a private garden in the northwestern part of Budapest. In 2011, adults were caught in yellow sticky traps in a suburban area at the northwestern limits of Budapest. At this site, several specimens were caught by branch beating from Betula and Quercus. O. ishidae was also found on Viburnum spp. in the botanical garden of the Corvinus University of Budapest and in an apartment located in its close vicinity.
  • United Kindgom (2011): it was first recorded in a park (Warwick Gardens, Peckham) in the London area in 2011.

Finally, several forums and blogs on the Internet indicate that O. ishidae is probably present in more European countries, such as:
Belgium (pictures taken in 2008)
Slovakia (picture taken in 2012)
Spain (pictures taken in 2012 and 2014)


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