Studies on the Gonipterus scutellatus species complex
Gonipterus species are native to Australia and are defoliators of eucalyptus. For many years, Gonipterus scutellatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae – EPPO A2 List- eucalyptus snout beetle) has been considered as a single species. However, phylogenetic studies have shown that it is a species complex which includes G. balteatus, G. platensis, G. pulverulentus, G. scutellatus sensu stricto, and at least eight other species which remain to be described. Among these species, three have been introduced into other parts of the world and are considered to be invasive: G. platensis, G. pulverulentus and an undescribed species Gonipterus sp. n. 2. Other species of this complex, including in particular G. scutellatus sensu stricto, have not been recorded outside Australia.
These taxonomic changes imply that all past knowledge about the G. scutellatus species complex has to be critically reviewed and further studies are needed on the individual species to better understand their biology and ecology. Taxonomic studies are needed to describe and name the species which are part of the complex. These changes also have consequences on management strategies, and in particular on the use of Anaphes nitens, an egg parasitoid which has been used throughout the invaded range of the different pest species. Finally, the quarantine status of the G. scutellatus species complex and its individual members might need to be re-assessed.
In the meantime, the EPPO Secretariat has tried to collect information on the geographical distribution and host range of the three species of the G. scutellatus complex which have shown invasive behaviour.
Native to Tasmania and invasive in New Zealand, North and South America, and parts of Europe.
EPPO region: Portugal, Spain (including Islas Canarias).
North America: USA (California, Hawaii).
South America: Argentina, Brazil (Espirito Santo, Parana, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Sao Paulo), Chile, Colombia.
Oceania: Australia (Tasmania, Western Australia), New Zealand.
Hosts: Eucalyptus globulus, E. grandis, E. longifolia, E. nitens, E. propinqua, E. obliqua.
Native to Australia (New South Wales, Tasmania) and invasive in South America.
EPPO region: Absent.
South America: Argentina, Brazil (Parana, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina), Uruguay.
Oceania: Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania).
Hosts: Eucalyptus amygdalina, E. globulus.
Gonipterus sp. n. 2
Native to eastern mainland Australia, and invasive in Western Australia, Tasmania, Africa and parts of Europe.
EPPO region: France, Italy.
As Gonipterus sp. n. 2 is considered to be the species which has been introduced in the 1910s in South Africa and which then spread northwards along the eastern side of the continent, its distribution in Africa is probably as follows.
Africa: Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Saint Helena, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe.
Oceania: Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia).
Hosts: Eucalyptus amplifolia, E. benthamii, E. camaldulensis, E. cornuta, E. dunnii, E. dalrympleana, E. globulus, E. grandis, E. kirtoniana, E. longifolia, E. maideni, E. microcorys, E. nitens, E. nicholii, E. propinqua, E. punctata, E. robusta, E. scoparia, E. smithii, E. tereticornis, E. urnigera, E. urophylla, E. viminalis.
NOTE: a revised EPPO datasheet on the Gonipterus scutellatus species complex has just been published in the EPPO Global Database. https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/GONPSC/datasheet
Garcia A, Allen GR, Oberprieler RG, Ramos AP, Valente C, Reis A, Franco JC & Branco M (2019) Biological control of Gonipterus: Uncovering the associations between eucalypts, weevils and parasitoids in their native range. Forest Ecology and Management 443, 106-116.
Mapondera TS, Burgess T, Matsuki M, Oberprieler RG (2012) Identification and molecular phylogenetics of the cryptic species of the Gonipterus scutellatus complex (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Gonipterini). Australian Journal of Entomology 51(3),175-188.
Newete SW, Oberprieler RG & Byrne MJ (2011) The host range of the Eucalyptus Weevil, Gonipterus “scutellatus” Gyllenhal (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), in South Africa. Annals of Forest Science 68, 1005–1013.
Schröder ML, Nahrung HF, de Souza NM, Lawson SA, Slippers B, Wingfield MJ, Hurley BP (2021) Distribution of Gonipterus species and their egg parasitoids in Australia: implications for biological control. Forests 12(8), 969. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12080969
Schröder ML, Slippers B, Wingfield MJ, Hurley BP (2020) Invasion history and management of Eucalyptus snout beetles in the Gonipterus scutellatus species complex. Journal of Pest Science 93(1), 11-25. https://www.fabinet.up.ac.za/publication/pdfs/3678-1023_schroder_slippers_wingfield_2019_journal_of_pest_science_.pdf
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