Thaumastocoris on the move…

The Bronze Bug, Thaumastocoris peregrinus, continues to expand its global range, with it now being established in Italy as of September 2011 (as mentioned by Annie in the previous post) and with a more recent detection on street trees in Auckland, New Zealand (March 2012).  For its current known worldwide distribution click here.

Italy

More information on the establishment of T. peregrinus in Italy can be found here in a paper by Laudonia & Sasso in the Bulletin of Insectology, Vol 65 (1): 89-93, 2012, and in this European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) publication by the same authors.

Given the speed with which T. peregrinus has spread since the first detections in southern Africa and South America, it is likely it will also spread quickly in Europe following this initial establishment in Italy.  This is of particular concern for plantation growers of Eucalyptus globulus in countries such as Portugal, Spain and France since this species is a known host of T. peregrinus in Australia.

New Zealand

The detection of T. peregrinus in New Zealand is reported in Forest Health News No. 226, June 2012  and in Surveillance magazine Vol 39 (2) pp 43-46. According to the latter publication:

In New Zealand this insect may not be eradicable as it appears to be well established, and there do not appear to be any effective eradication methods. Potential next steps are being considered

 

Update from Annie

Greetings from sunny Sydney, everyone.

The Australian cricket season is almost finished and this is great because it means the AFL football season is just around the corner.  I have, yet again, very high expectations of my AFL team, the Fremantle Dockers.

I have some Thaumastocoris peregrinus news for you.

Thaumastocoris peregrinus is now in Italy! It has been found in large numbers on urban and commercial plantings of eucalypts around Rome.

In other news, I just thought I would flag some new papers on Thaumastocoris which have recently been published or are almost published, see below.

Cheers, Annie

Nadel, R.L. and Noack, A.E. (2012). Current understanding of Thaumastocoris peregrinus in a quest for its management and control. International Journal of Pest Management. In press.

ABSTRACT

“Thaumastocoris peregrinus is a serious insect pest of Southern African and South American Eucalyptus plantations. Native to Australia, T. peregrinus was initially discovered infesting street, garden and amenity eucalypts in Sydney. With a host range of over 30 Eucalyptus species and hybrids this pest became established concurrently in both South Africa and Argentina, and has since spread at an extraordinary rate to neighbouring countries. In its native range T. peregrinus is distributed across several climatic regions in Australia. Basic biological data has been obtained on T. peregrinus although this has been limited by culturing difficulties in the laboratory. Monitoring of T. peregrinus populations has been conducted at the individual tree, tree stand and regional level to understand the population dynamics of the pest. Chemical control is effective in controlling T. peregrinus in an urban setting; however, biological control using Cleruchoides noackae is presently the main focus of control efforts at the international level. Three new species of Thaumastocoris are identified as potential pests, based on their geographical distribution and host range. Research into further understanding the biology of T. peregrinus and identifying other potential biological control agents are crucial for the management of present and future Thaumastocoris infestations.”

 

Nadel, R.L., Wingfield, M.J., Scholes, M.C., Lawson, S.A., Noack, A.E., Neser, S., and Slippers, B. (2011) Mitochondrial DNA diversity of Cleruchoides noackae (Hymenoptera: Mymaridae): a potential biological control agent for Thaumastocoris peregrinus (Hemiptera: Thaumastocoridae). BioContol. Online publication date: 8-Oct-2011

ABSTRACT

“Thaumastocoris peregrinus (Thaumastocoridae, Hemiptera) is a native Australian Eucalyptus sap- feeding insect that has become invasive and seriously damaging to commercially grown Eucalyptus in the Southern Hemisphere. Cleruchoides noackae (Mymaridae, Hymenoptera) was recently discovered as an egg parasitoid of the Thaumastocoridae in Australia. In 2008, C. noackae was collected in three regions of Australia in an effort to assess its potential as a biological control agent for T. peregrinus. Mitochondrial DNA (CO I) sequence diversity amongst 104 individuals from these native C. noackae populations revealed 24 sequence haplotypes. The CO I haplotypes of individuals collected from the Sydney and Southeast Queensland clustered in distinct groups, indicating limited spread of the insect between the regions. Individuals collected from Perth in Western Australia were represented by four CO I haplotypes. Although this population is geographically more isolated from other populations, two of CO I haplotypes were identical to haplotypes found in the Sydney region. The results suggest that C. noackae has recently been introduced into Perth, possibly from the Sydney area. The high mtDNA diversity and limited spread that is suggested for C. noackae is in contrast to the lack of geographic associated mtDNA diversity and extensive spread of T. peregrinus. If implemented as a biological control agent, this factor will need to be considered in collecting and releasing C. noackae.”

Noack, A.E., Cassis. G., and Rose, H.A. (2011). Systematic revision of Thaumastocoris Kirkaldy (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Thaumastocoridae). Zootaxa 3121:1-60.

ABSTRACT

“The genus Thaumastocoris is revised.  Nine new species are described (T. busso, T. freomooreae, T. kalaako, T. majeri, T. nadeli, T. ohallorani, T. roy, T. safordi, and T. slateri) and the five previously described species are redescribed.  A diagnostic key to species is provided, supported with illustrations of key character systems and maps depicting their distributional range.  Host plants are tabulated, and biology and host plant associations are discussed.”

 

IUFRO Forest Protection Meeting In Uruguay A Great Success

The consensus amongst participants at this meeting was that it was certainly one of the best organised and most successful meetings of its type that we had attended.  In particular, it was highly valuable having pathologists and entomologists from around the world in the same room (and in the field) during the week, especially given the increasing realisation of the importance of the interactions between pathogens and insects in forestry (which was the driver for the meeting in the first place of course!).  So a hearty thank you to IUFRO and the local Organising Committee (particularly Guillermo, Roberto and Gonzalo and their team) for their hard work and a job well done, and to the Scientific Committee for putting together such a great programme!

BiCEP DISCUSSIONS

A productive side meeting focused on the biological control of eucalypt insects was held on the evening of the 8th November.  In particular, individual country’s needs for biological control and the research required to support this was discussed, with several themes emerging.  These were:

  1. Impact of Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and access and benefit sharing (ABS) on biocontrol.
  2. Host specificity testing of biological control agents
  3. Identifying new potential biocontrol agents and wider genetic diversity in existing agents
  4. Databasing (including barcoding) what agents have been released around the world (and pests?)
  5. Enhancing information sharing and communication.

We invite comment from interested parties on these themes and to suggest aspects of eucalypt insect biocontrol that we may not have covered. 

A discussion paper is available on the Members page for download.

IUFRO Images from Uruguay

The meeting venue – the Sheraton Colonia

Dr Gonzalo Martinez Crosa and IUFRO participants at the Industrias Forestales Arazati s.a. pine plantation.

IUFRO participants at the La Martineta UPM/Forestal Oriental eucalypt plantation.  Eucalyptus dunnii in the background.

An expatriate Australian in Uruguay!  Gonipterus scutellatus (complex) on E. dunnii at La Martineta.

Eucalyptus grandis at La Martineta and not a borer to be seen!

 Eucalypts in the Uruguay landscape, as seen from atop Sierra de Mahoma

IUFRO Images from Argentina 

 

Thaumastocoris peregrinus damage to roadside eucalypts, and associated dieback symptoms.  West of Buenos Aires.

 

Another Australian expat. Glycaspis brimblecombei on a eucalypt in a Buenos Aires park.

IUFRO Forest Protection Joint Meeting in Uruguay

Forest protection researchers from around the world are meeting in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay from the 8th to 11th November 2011 on the theme “Pathogens, insects and their associations affecting forestry worldwide”.  Themes for the meeting include “Biological invasions-Forest health surveillance and monitoring”, “Pest-disease co-evolution”, “Management of pests and diseases”, “Multitrophic interactions” and “Biodiversity”.  It promises to be a great week of interesting discussions!

BiCEP’s first shipment of Bronzing bug egg parasitoids sent to South Africa and Brazil

The first shipments of Thaumastocoris peregrinus eggs under this project left Australia on 12 September and have already been producing egg parasitoids in Quarantine in both countries. Collections were made by Dr Ann Noack in the Olympic Park area of Sydney, site of the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Further shipments are planned over the coming months when partners and associates are able to accept them.