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A first worldwide multispecies survey of invasive Mediterranean pine bark beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae)


Several European and Mediterranean species of pine bark beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) have become established in North America and the southern hemisphere, posing a novel threat to planted and naturally-occurring pine forests. Our objectives were to investigate (1) the occurrence and relative abundance of pine bark beetles in these regions, and (2) the trapping performance of different blends of multispecies lures. In 2016–2017 a network of interception traps was installed in six non-European countries (Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States, and Uruguay), and in six European countries (France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, and Spain) for comparison. Half of the traps were baited with alpha-pinene and ethanol, and the other half with alpha-pinene, ethanol, and a combination of bark beetle pheromones (ipsdienol, ipsenol, and Z-verbenol). Five Mediterranean scolytine species (Hylurgus ligniperda, Hylastes ater, H. angustatus, Orthotomicus erosus, and O. laricis) were found in non-European countries. Hylurgus ligniperda and Hylastes ater were the most widespread species found in several of the invaded regions, while O. laricis and H. angustatus occurred only in Argentina and South Africa, respectively. Despite large variation among species and countries, most species were trapped with the blend containing bark beetle pheromones, except O. erosus, which was more attracted to alpha-pinene and ethanol alone. This study represents the first step towards the development of an international monitoring protocol based on multi-lure traps for the survey and early-interception of invasive alien bark beetle species.

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We thank Rayonier Matariki Forests (New Zealand), Sappi Forests (South Africa), Sierra Espuña Natural Park (Spain), the University of Georgia—D.B. Warnell School of Forest Resources (North America), GMO Renewable Resources, Terena S. A. and Weyerhaeuser S. A. (Uruguay), and HQPlantations Australia for the use of their land for the trial. We also thank Sanidad Agrícola Econex S.L. for providing traps and lures. We thank Brooke O’Connor, Jessica Kerr, and Matt Scott for assisting with trapping and insect sorting and identification in New Zealand, Michael Haddrell, Carolina Jorge and Dan Ruiz for sorting and identifying trap catches in Australia, Michael Ramsden and HQPlantations for set-up and servicing of traps in Australia, and Mariela Suárez, Analía García and Gissel Cantero for assisting with insect sorting and identification in Uruguay. We also thank Associação de Produtores Florestais de Coruche (APFC) and Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Alcácer do Sal for the use of their land, and Conceição Silva, Ricardo Cipriano and André Garcia for set-up and servicing of traps in Portugal. Partial funding for this study came from MBIE (New Zealand, contract C04X1104), from PICT 2016-0705 to VL and JC (Argentina), from FCT UID/AGR/00239/2013 (Portugal) and from DOR-UNIPD to MF (Italy).

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Correspondence to Massimo Faccoli.

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Faccoli, M., Gallego, D., Branco, M. et al. A first worldwide multispecies survey of invasive Mediterranean pine bark beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae). Biol Invasions (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-020-02219-3

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  • Biological invasions
  • Forest health
  • International monitoring protocol
  • Invasive species
  • Pest detection
  • Pine pests
  • Semiochemicals