EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 05 - 2010 Num. article: 2010/106

Diaphania perspectalis continues to spread in Europe


Diaphania perspectalis (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae – EPPO Alert List) is a pest of Buxus originating from Asia which was reported for the first time in Europe in 2007. It was discovered in Baden-Württemberg, Germany (EPPO RS 2007/215). Since this initial record, D. perspectalis has been observed in other European countries, sometimes causing severe defoliation to Buxus plants in urban environments (parks, gardens, cemeteries). So far, it has not been found in natural stands of Buxus. The origin of this introduction into Europe remains unknown but it is hypothetized that a possible entry point was the Rhine port in Weil-am-Rhein (Germany) and nearby Basel (Switzerland) where large shipments of Chinese imports are arriving regularly.

Germany
D. perspectalis was first noticed on Buxus shrubs and hedges in the urban area of Weil-am-Rhein. The widespread occurrence in Weil-am-Rhein already observed in 2007 suggested that the species has been present there probably 2-3 years before its detection. D. perspectalis was then found in the city of Kehl and its surroundings. In 2008 and 2009, further reports were made in Nordrhein-Westphalen, Niedersachsen, Hessen (south) and Sachsen. A small infestation was also detected in Bayern in 2008 but data is lacking on the current situation in this area.

Switzerland
D. perspectalis was first found in summer 2007 at several locations near Basel. Since then, it has rapidly spread to other cantons. Several reports from Aargau, Graubünden, Jura, Solothurn, Thurgau, Vaud, Zürich and Zug have been sent to an Internet forum (Lepiforum) and some of them may require further confirmation. It is considered that such a rapid spread surpasses the flight ability of the insect and can only be explained by trade or movements of infested plants.

France
D. perspectalis was observed for the first time in France in August 2008. Adults were observed, attracted by street lights, in the city of Saint-Louis (department of Haut-Rhin, Alsace), approximately 4 km away from the area (Weil-am-Rhein) where it was discovered in Germany. At that time, damage to Buxus plants could also be observed. In October 2008, the pest was found in Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin, close to the outbreak of Kehl in Germany), first in the ‘Parc de l’Orangerie’ and shortly after in the Strasbourg Botanical Garden on Buxus sempervirens and B. colchica (new host record). Since then, several other findings have been made in Alsace. In August 2009, the pest was observed in private gardens in Orsay (Essonne department, Ile-de-France region).

Netherlands
In September 2008, the NPPO of the Netherlands reported the presence of D. perspectalis at 4 different locations (RS 2008/197). So far, no serious damage has been reported from the Netherlands.

United Kingdom
In September 2008, 3 adult moths were found in 2 separate locations in the south of England. Insects were caught in light traps at Icklesham (East Sussex) and Weybridge (Surrey). In 2009, a nursery in Surrey found larvae causing severe damage to Buxus plants. The origin of the introduction of D. perspectalis into the United Kingdom is not known.

Austria
The presence of the pest in Austria was reported in 2009 to Lepiforum and again in 2010. D. perspectalis has been observed in different localities in Vorarlberg, Steiermark, and in Vienna. These records may require further confirmation (as no other source of information could be found to confirm the pest presence) but they strongly suggest that D. perspectalis occurs in Austria.

Sources

Billen W (2007) [Diaphania perspectalis (Lepidoptera: Pyrallidae) - a new moth in Europe]. Mitteilungen der Entomologischen Gesellschaft Basel 57(2/4), 135-137 (abst.).
INTERNET (last accessed in 2010-05)
Fera. Plant pest fact sheet. Box tree caterpillar Diaphania perspectalis.
http://www.fera.defra.gov.uk/plants/plantHealth/pestsDiseases/documents/boxTreeCaterpillar.pdf
Lepiforum. Neoglyphodes perspectalis (Walker, 1859) - Buchsbaum-Zünsler.
http://www.lepiforum.de/cgi-bin/lepiwiki.pl?Neoglyphodes_Perspectalis
Société Alsacienne d’Entomologie. Société Entomologique de Mulhouse. Brua C. (undated) La pyrale du buis Diaphania perspectalis présence d’une nouvelle espèce envahissante en France. http://sites.estvideo.net/sae/pyrale_du_buis.html
University of Basel. Department of Environmental Sciences. Conservation Biology. Media Release (2009-10-14) Wiederholte Einführung des Buchsbaumzünslers beschleunigt seine Ausbreitung. http://www.conservation.unibas.ch/news/buchsbaum/medien2.php?lang=de