, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 211–225 | Cite as

Can the destruction of California’s oak woodlands be prevented? Potential for biological control of the goldspotted oak borer, Agrilus auroguttatus

  • Tom W. Coleman
  • Vanessa Lopez
  • Paul Rugman-Jones
  • Richard Stouthamer
  • Steven J. Seybold
  • Richard Reardon
  • Mark S. Hoddle


The goldspotted oak borer (GSOB), Agrilus auroguttatus Schaeffer (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), is an introduced and aggressive phloem/wood borer infesting native oaks in southern California. Elevated levels of oak mortality have occurred continually for the last nine years on three oak species in San Diego Co., California, USA. Biological control is being assessed as an option for long-term and widespread management of the invasive population of GSOB. Foreign exploration in the native ranges of GSOB and a related sibling species (Agrilus coxalis Waterhouse) was conducted to determine life history information, to assess the natural enemy complex, and to collect specimens for molecular analyses that could help to identify the area of origin of California’s introduced population. Two species of parasitoids, Calosota elongata Gibson (Eupelmidae) and Atanycolus simplex Cresson (Braconidae), were discovered with GSOB populations in Arizona and California. No insect natural enemies were found with populations of A. coxalis in southern Mexico. However, Quercus conzatti Trel. and Quercus peduncularis Nee in Oaxaca and Chiapas, respectively, were recorded as the first known hosts of A. coxalis. A comparative analysis of our understanding of the natural enemy complexes for other pestiferous Agrilus with that of GSOB suggests that more effort should be directed at uncovering potential egg parasitoids and microbial pathogens of GSOB. Analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear ribosomal DNA (rDNA) revealed that the California population of GSOB was more similar to the Arizona population. Specimens of A. coxalis from southern Mexico were confirmed as a separate species. Additional surveys and sampling are needed across the complete native range of the GSOB species complex to develop a comprehensive inventory of parasitoid species that could be considered for use in a classical biological control program in California and to delineate the area of origin of California’s population.


Indigenous exotic species Mitochondrial DNA Oak mortality California Arizona Southern Mexico Calosota elongata 


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Copyright information

© International Organization for Biological Control (outside the USA) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom W. Coleman
    • 1
  • Vanessa Lopez
    • 2
  • Paul Rugman-Jones
    • 2
    • 3
  • Richard Stouthamer
    • 2
    • 3
  • Steven J. Seybold
    • 3
    • 4
  • Richard Reardon
    • 5
  • Mark S. Hoddle
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.USDA Forest Service-Forest Health ProtectionSan BernardinoUSA
  2. 2.Department of EntomologyUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA
  3. 3.Center for Invasive Species ResearchUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA
  4. 4.USDA Forest Service-Pacific Southwest Research Station, Chemical Ecology of Forest InsectsDavisUSA
  5. 5.USDA Forest Service-Forest Health Technology and Enterprise TeamMorgantownUSA

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