First reports of Macrohomotoma gladiata in Italy and Algeria
Macrohomotoma gladiata (Hemiptera: Homotomidae) is a psyllid of Asian origin which feeds on Ficus microcarpa (other Ficus species such as F. benghalensis and F. microphylla are mentioned in the literature but these host records are considered doubtful by several authors). Colonies of M. gladiata develop and feed on new shoots, which become covered by white waxy secretions. Young stages of the psyllid live protected under these secretions. Following feeding, shoots become deformed, stop developing and may finally die. This pest first came to the attention of the EPPO Secretariat when scientists reported its presence in Spain near Alicante (see EPPO webpage and EPPO RS 2011/219). In Spain, M. gladiata was initially recorded in October 2009 in Baleares on the Island of Mallorca in the municipalities of Andratx, Palma and Marratxí, and then in Ibiza. Additional studies detected the pest in several provinces in mainland Spain (Alicante, Cádiz, Málaga, Murcia, and Valencia) and on Islas Canarias.
In Italy, M. gladiata was observed for the first time in July 2011 in Napoli (Campania region) on ornamental Ficus planted along two avenues (set far apart). In 2014, specimens of M. gladiata were collected on F. microcarpa in Sicilia, in different sites (urban and suburban) of the cities of Catania and Siracusa
Finally, severe damage caused by M. gladiata has been reported on urban Ficus trees in the city of Mostaganem in Algeria since spring 2015.
Anonymous (2016) Alerte. Un psylle asiatique identifié en Algérie. Phytoma no. 690, p 4.
Anonymous (2009) Nova psila dels ficus (Macrohomotoma gladiata). Butlleti de Sanitat Vegetal no. 11, p 2.
Bella S, Rapisarda C (2014) New findings in Italy of the recently introduced alien psyllid Macrohomotoma gladiata and additional distributional records of Acizzia jamatonica and Cacopsylla fulguralis (Hemiptera Psylloidea). Redia XCVII 151-155.
Mifsud D, Porcelli F (2011) Macrohomotoma gladiata Kuwayama, 1908: a jumping plant-lice recently introduced into the EPPO Region (Hemiptera: Psylloidea). http://www.eppo.org/QUARANTINE/macrohomotoma_gladiata_ES/macrohomotoma_gladiata.htm
Mifsud D, Porcelli F (2012) Macrohomotoma gladiata Kuwayama, 1908 (Hemiptera: Psylloidea: Homotomidae): a Ficus pest recently introduced into the EPPO region. Bulletin OEPP/EPPO Bulletin 42(1), 161-164.
Pedata PA, Burckhardt D, Mancini D (2012) Severe infestations of the jumping plant-louse Macrohomotoma gladiata, a new species for Italy in urban Ficus plantations. Bulletin of Insectology 65(1), 95-98.