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Megacopta cribraria (Hemiptera: Plataspidae)

Kudzu bug or bean plataspid

 

AdultWhy: Megacopta cribraria has recently been introduced into the USA. It was first found near Atlanta (Georgia) in autumn 2009 and it rapidly spread to several states in Southeastern USA, clearly demonstrating an invasive behaviour. Damage to soybean crops has been reported in parts of the invaded area in the USA. Finally, M. cribraria is a nuisance pest, as this stink bug gathers in huge numbers in houses or other structures, seeking shelters in autumn.

 

Megacopta cribraria adult
Charles Lam, Wikimedia Commons

Where: M. cribraria originates from Asia.
EPPO region: Absent.
Asia: China (Anhui, Aomen (Macau), Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanghai, Shanxi, Sichuan, Tianjin, Xianggang (Hong Kong), Xizhang, Yunnan, Zhejiang), India (Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa), Indonesia (Java, Sumatra), Japan (Honshu, Kyushu, Ryukyu, Shikoku), Korea (Dem. People's Republic of), Korea (Republic of), Malaysia (West), Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand.
North America: USA (Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia).

In Japan, many records refer to M. punctatissima which has been considered by several authors as a distinct species. However, phylogenetic studies have indicated that M. cribraria and M. punctatissima are not distinct but represent local populations of the same species, although with considerable genetic and phenotypic diversity. In addition, these studies have strongly suggested that the invasive M. cribraria populations found in the USA derived from a ‘M. punctatissima population’ from Kyushu (Japan). In addition, the endosymbionts detected in the M. cribraria populations from the USA are also found in the Japanese populations. All these results suggest a Japanese origin for the US populations.

M. cribraria on soybeanOn which plants: In the USA, M. cribraria primarily feeds on kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata – EPPO A2 List) which is an invasive plant, and on soybean (Glycine max). According to the literature, other leguminous plants can be attacked, such as Cajanus cajan (pigeon pea), Lablab purpureus (lablab), Sesbania bispinosa (= S. aculeata), Vigna radiata (mung bean). However, for some of these crops, it is not entirely clear whether the insect can complete its life cycle on them. M. cribraria harbours the obligate bacterial endosymbionts, ‘Candidatus Ishikawaella capsulata’ and Wolbachia, in its midgut which allows it to feed on legumes. These endosymbionts synthetize essential amino acids and other nutrients that are not provided by the plant food source.

M. cribraria on soybean
Jeremy Greene, Clemson University, Bugwood.org

Damage: M. cribraria is a piercing-sucking insect, larva (nymphs) and adults feed on tender stems, petioles and leaves. Heavy populations can resut in some defoliation and development of sooty mold. On soybean, the combination of stem and foliar damage, and reduced photosynthesis from sooty mold leads to improperly developed pods, undersized seeds and eventually yield losses. In Southern USA, it is estimated that in 2012 the infested area was 366 000 acres (148 000 ha) of which 61 100 acres (24 700 ha) were treated against M. cribraria. Field data collected from trials in Georgia and South Carolina had indicated an average yield loss of 18% (ranging from 0 to 47%) in unprotected soybean crops. Although, M. cribaria feeds voraciously on kudzu, it is not known if this feeding activity will effectively reduce populations of this invasive plant in the USA. M. cribraria is clearly a nuisance to homeowners because as autumn approaches, they leave their feeding sites (often nearby kudzu patches) and congregate in huge numbers on houses (usually on the sunlit Southern and Eastern exposures). In addition, this bug emits an unpleasant smell when disturbed, produces a yellow substance when crushed that can stain cloth, wood and other surfaces. Finally, M. cribraria has been in some cases reported to cause painful skin irritation.

Biology: Studies carried out in the USA on have shown that M. cribraria eggs were most commonly found on the tender leaf sheath of the growing vine tips of kudzu (a few also found on the underside of older leaves). Eggs are usually laid in groups of 2 parallel rows (on average, 15-18 eggs per egg-mass). Eggs are oval in shape (approximately 0.8 mm long and 0.4 mm wide), white at the beginning but rapidly turning off-white to salmon pink. The operculum is round and surrounded by short spine-like projections. M. cribraria undergoes 5 larval instars (nymphs). Adults are somewhat square in shape (approximately 4-6 mm long and 3.5 mm wide), olive-green with a brown mottle. M. cribraria overwinters as adults. In the USA, 2 generations per year were observed, but in China up to 3 generations can take place. In the USA, it has been observed that the first generation developed on kudzu and then migrated to soybean crops to complete the second generation. M. cribraria can tolerate cold (it overwintered in north Georgia where there were days when temperatures fell below zero between 2009 and 2010).

Dissemination: Adults are active and strong fliers, and they readily fly when disturbed. In addition, M. cribraria is a hitchiker, it has been observed flying and landing on people, as well as on and in their vehicules. Dead specimens have also been intercepted by South American countries in containers containing meat products from the USA.

Pathway: more information would be needed to understand how trade can move M. cribraria, but it seems that this insect easily moves as a hitchhiker on many different types of products which are not necessarily associated with plants.
Nymphs
Nymphs
1st instar nymphs just after hatch.
Joe Eger, Dow AgroSciences, Bugwood.org

Nymphs on kudzu. John Ruberson,
Kansas State University, Bugwood.org

 

Possible risks: Although countries of the EPPO region are not among the main world producers, soybean is of economic importance. Other leguminous crops, such as beans (Phaseolus spp.) are widely grown in the EPPO region but their host status for M. cribraria still needs to be clarified. Unlike in the USA, kudzu which is a major host of the pest, is of very limited distribution in the EPPO region and this might be a limiting factor for the establishment and spread of the pest if it were introduced into the EPPO region. As the pest seems to be able to be transported as a hitchhiker, this may complicate its detection in trade. Control methods against M. cribraria are available. Efficacy data from trials conducted in Georgia and South Carolina have indicated that several insecticides could provide an effective control in soybean crops. The use of biocontrol agents is also envisaged [e.g. Dirphys boswelli (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae), Paratelenomus saccharalis (Hymenoptera: Platygastridae), Strongygaster triangulifera (Diptera: Tachinidae)]. Considering the invasive behaviour of M. cribraria, the nuisance it can cause in private homes, and the potential damage it may cause to leguminous crops, it is desirable to avoid its introduction into the EPPO region.
Swarming
M. cribraria on a house
Daniel R. Suiter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

 

Sources:
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Chandra K, Kushwaha S (2013) Record of hemipteran insect pest diversity on Lablab purpureus L: an economically important plant from Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. Research Journal of Agricultural Sciences 4(1), 66-69.
Del Pozo-Valdivia AI, Reisig DD (2013) First-generation Megacopta cribraria (Hemiptera: Plataspidae) can develop on soybean. Journal of Economic Entomology 206(2), 533-535.
Easton ER, Pun WW (1997) Observations on some Hemiptera/Heteroptera of Macau, southeast Asia. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 99, 574-582.
Eger Jr JE, Ames LM, Suiter DR, Jenkins TM, Rider DA, Halbert SE (2010) Occurrence of the Old World bug Megacopta cribraria (Fabricius) (Heteroptera: Plataspidae) in Georgia: a serious home invader and potential legume pest. Insecta Mundi 0121, 1-11.
Gardner WA, Blount JL, Golec JR, Jones WA, Hu XP, Talamas EJ, Evans RM, Dong XL, Ray Jr CH, Buntin GD, Gerardo NM, Couret J (2013) Discovery of Paratelenomus saccharalis (Dodd) (Hymenoptera: Platygastridae), an egg parasitoid of Megacopta cribraria F. (Hemiptera: Plataspidae) in its expanded North American range. Journal of Entomological Science 48(4), 355-359.
Golec JR, Hu XP, Ray C, Woodley NE (2013) Strongygaster triangulifera (Diptera: Tachinidae) as a parasitoid of adults of the invasive Megacopta cribraria (Heteroptera: Plataspidae) in Alabama. Journal of Entomological Science 48(4), 1-3.
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INTERNET
Kudzu bug. http://www.kudzubug.org/
Jenkins TM, Eaton TD (2011) Population genetic baseline of the first plataspid stink bug symbiosis (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Plataspidae) reported in North America. Insects 2, 264-272.
Liu GQ, Zheng LY (2006) Checklist of the Chinese Plataspidae (Heteroptera: Pentatomoidea). Denisia 19, 919-926. http://www.landesmuseum.at/pdf_frei_remote/DENISIA_0019_0919-0926.pdf
Medal J, Halbert S, Smith T, Santa Cruz A (2013) Suitability of selected plants to the bean plataspid, Megacopta cribraria (Hemiptera: Plataspidae) in no-choice tests. Florida Entomologist 96(2), 631-633.
Musser FR, Catchot Jr AL, Davis JA, Herbert Jr DA, Lorenz GM, Reed T, Reisig DD, Stewart SD (2013) 2012 Soybean insect losses in the Southern US. Midsouth Entomologist 6, 12-24.
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Sujithra M, Srinivasan S, Hariprasad KV (2008) Outbreak of lablab bug, Coptosoma cribraria Fab. on field bean, Lablab purpureus var. lignosus Medikus. Insect Environment 14(2), 77-78.
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EPPO RS 2014/161

Panel review date 2017-03
Entry date 2014-10

 

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