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First record of the bronze bug, Thaumastocoris peregrinus
Carpintero & Dellapé (Heteroptera: Thaumastocoridae),
a new exotic pest of Eucalyptus trees in Italy

Stefania Laudonia 1 & Raffaele Sasso 2

1 Dipartimento di Entomologia agraria Filippo Silvestri, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Portici, Italy
2 ENEA C.R. Casaccia, UTAGRI-ECO, Roma, Italy
laudonia@unina.it

 

In September 2011, the bronze bug Thaumastocoris peregrinus Carpintero & Dellapé (Heteroptera:  Thaumastocoridae) was detected in Italy infesting Eucalyptus spp. in several urban and rural sites of the Latium region (Italy) (Laudonia & Sasso, 2012). This is the first record of a member of the family Thaumastocoridae from the European and Mediterranean region. This Australian alien species is not listed yet in the EPPO Alert List*. Until recently, the Australian group of Thaumastocoridae was considered rare (Cassis et al., 1999), but over the past 10 years, T. peregrinus has rapidly established as a severe pest on 13 species of Eucalyptus and Corymbia citriodora subsp. citriodora in Australia (Noack & Rose, 2007; Noack et al. 2009), and spread to South America (Martinez-Crosa, 2008; Carpintero & Dellapé 2006; Noack & Coviella, 2006; Wilcken et al., 2010; Savaris et al., 2011) and South Africa (Jacobs & Neser, 2005; Giliomee, 2011).

The adult of T. peregrinus is characterized by a strongly dorso-ventrally compressed and elongate body between 2-3.5 mm in length, a broad head, pedicellate eyes, and elongate conspicuous mandibular plates which are curved and broad on the outer margin (Noack et al., 2011). The body is light brown with darker areas. The male genital capsule is asymmetrical. The eggs are dark, oval, with a sculptured chorion and a round operculum, on average 0.5 mm long and 0.2 mm wide. The crawlers and young nymphs are essentially orange, with black spots on the thorax and first abdominal segments. A detailed description of T. peregrinus has been published by Carpintero and Dellapé (2006), and more recently a re-description of the species has been published by Noack et al. (2011).

Infested Eucalyptus trees show leaf silvering, ranging from chlorosis to bronzing. Heavy infestations cause leaves to become red/brown and defoliation occurs. These symptoms are particularly serious and evident on E. grandis, while the prevalent symptoms on other Eucalyptus species are silver leaves. The bronze bugs are also considered as a nuisance, having been reported to ‘sting’ people in urban parks, playgrounds, etc. (Jacobs & Neser, 2005).

In Southern Europe (Italy, Spain and Portugal), Eucalyptus species are probably the only large scale and economically successful short rotation tree plantations also used for industrial purposes, such as production of sawn wood, wood pulp, charcoal and biomass fuel. The nectar from flowers of some eucalypts produces high-quality of monofloral honey. T. peregrinus is a serious pest of Eucalyptus species in the Southern Hemisphere and could become a forest and urban pest in Southern Europe and in the Mediterranean Basin.

 

   
All pictures were kindly provided by Dr Raffaele SASSO, ENEA, Italy
Damage on Eucalyptus grandis
Thaumastocoris peregrinus: adult, nymph and crawlers
   
Thaumastocoris peregrinus: eggs
Thaumastocoris peregrinus: female
   
Thaumastocoris peregrinus: male and female
Thaumastocoris peregrinus: males and nymphs

 

 

References

Carpintero DL, Dellapé PM (2006) A new species of Thaumastocoris Kirkaldy from Argentina (Heteroptera: Thaumastocoridae: Thaumastocorinae). Zootaxa 1228, 61–68.

Cassis G, Schuh RT, Brailovsky H (1999) A review of Onymocoris (Heteroptera: Thaumastocoridae), with a new species, and notes on hosts and distributions of other thaumastocorid species. Acta Societatis Zoologicae Bohemoslovacae 63, 19–36.

Giliomee JH (2011) Recent establishment of many alien insects in South Africa, a cause for concern. African Entomology 19(1), 151–155.

Jacobs DH, Neser S (2005) Thaumastocoris australicus Kirkaldy (Heteroptera: Thaumastocoridae): a new insect arrival in South Africa, damaging to Eucalyptus trees. South African Journal of Science 101, 233–236.

Laudonia S, Sasso R (2012) The bronze bug Thaumastocoris peregrinus: a new insect recorded in Italy, damaging to Eucalyptus trees. Bulletin of Insectology 65(1) (in press).

Martinez-Crosa G (2008) Thaumastocoris peregrinus Carpintero & Delappé, (Heteroptera: Thaumastocoridae): new pest found in eucalyptus in Uruguay. In: IUFRO Recent Advances in Forest Entomology, Pretoria, South Africa, pp 32–33.

Noack AE, Coviella CE (2006) Thaumastocoris australicus Kirkaldy (Hemiptera: Thaumastocoridae): first record of this invasive pest of Eucalyptus in the Americas. General and Applied Entomology 35, 13–15.

Noack AE, Rose HA (2007) Life-history of Thaumastocoris peregrinus and Thaumastocoris sp. in the laboratory with some observations on behaviour. General and Applied Entomology 36, 27–33.

Noack AE, Kaapro J, Bartimote-Aufflick K, Mansfield S, Rose HA (2009) Efficacy of Imidacloprid in the control of Thaumastocoris peregrinus on Eucalyptus scoparia in Sydney, Australia. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 35(4), 192–196.

Noack AE, Cassis G, Rose HA (2011) Systematic revision of Thaumastocoris Kirkaldy (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Thaumastocoridae). Zootaxa 3121, 01–60.

Savaris M, Lampert S, Valle da Silva Pereira PR, Salvadori JR (2011) Primeiro registro de Thaumastocoris peregrinus para o estado de Santa Catarina e novas áreas de ocorrência para o Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil. Ciência  Rural, Santa Maria 41(11), 1874-1876.

Wilcken CF, Soliman EP, Nogueira de Sá LA, Rodrigues Barbosa LR, Ribeiro Dias TKR, Ferreira-Filho PJ, Rodrigues Oliveira RJ (2010) Bronze Bug Thaumastocoris peregrinus Carpintero & Delappé, (Heteroptera: Thaumastocoridae) on Eucalyptus in Brazil and its distribution. Journal of Plant Protection Research 50(2), 201-205.

 

Dated: March 2012

* Since the publication of this note, T. peregrinus has been added to the Alert List (in July 2012)

 

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