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Pest categorisation of the Gonipterus scutellatus species complex

Michael Jeger, Claude Bragard, David Caffier, Thierry Candresse, Elisavet Chatzivassiliou, Katharina Dehnen‐Schmutz, Gianni Gilioli, Josep A. Jaques Miret, Alan MacLeod, Maria Navajas Navarro, Björn Niere, Stephen Parnell, Roel Potting, Trond Rafoss, Vittorio Rossi, Gregor Urek, Ariena Van Bruggen, Wopke Van der Werf, Jonathan West, Stephan Winter, Serena Santolamazza-Carbone, Virág Kertész, Mitesha Aukhojee, Jean‐Claude Grégoire

The Panel on Plant health performed a pest categorisation of the Australian Eucalyptus snout-beetle Gonipterus scutellatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), for the EU. G. scutellatus should be referred as the G. scutellatus species complex because it includes several cryptic species. A complete nomenclature of the species present in the EU is still pending. It is a quarantine pest listed in Annex IIB of Council Directive 2000/29/EC. Protected zones are in place in Greece and Portugal (Azores). In the EU, it has been found in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal. It only consumes Eucalyptus species leaves. The main pathways of spread are the trade of Eucalyptus timber, hitchhiking in various commodities, trade of apple fruit as well as of plants for planting or plant parts. Spread by flight is also possible. The climate of the EU protected zones is similar to that of the Member States (MS) where the G. scutellatus complex is established, and the pest's main host plants are present. The damaged trees suffer die-back and the development of epicormics shoots. Severe attacks may provoke massive amounts of tree death. Biological control by using the egg parasitoid wasp Anaphes nitens is the most effective control measure. Some species within the G. scutellatus complex are not yet present in the EU (including G. scutellatus sensu stricto) and might therefore be considered as potential union quarantine pests for the EU territory. At least two species within the G. scutellatus complex (most likely G. platensis and Gonipterus species no. 2) meet the criteria assessed by EFSA for consideration as potential protected zone quarantine pests for the territory of the protected zones: Greece and Portugal (Azores). The criteria for considering the G. scutellatus complex as a potential regulated non-quarantine pest for the EU are not met since plants for planting are not the main pathway.

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Conclusions. [...]
Identity of the pest ▹ The identity of the pest is established. For the identification to species level, morphological description of the male genitalia and molecular studies are necessary because of the existence of several cryptic species.
A complete nomenclature of the species present in the EU is still pending. [...]
Absence/presence of the pest in the EU territory ▹ Some species within the Gonipterus scutellatus complex are not yet present in the EU (including Gonipterus scutellatus sensu stricto).
A part of the species complex (G. platensis and Gonipterus species no. 2) is present in the EU and has been reported from four MS (most likely, G. platensis in Spain and Portugal and Gonipterus species no. 2 in Italy and France). The pest is absent in the protected zones (Greece and the Azores)
There are records of the presence of the pest in literature, but there is no official confirmation of the pest status in the protected zone of the Azores [...]
Regulatory status ▹ The pest is currently officially regulated by 2000/29/EC on plants of Eucalyptus, other than fruit and seeds. It is regulated as a quarantine pest in protected zones (Annex IIB): Greece and Portugal (Azores). Currently there are no requirements for EU-internal trade outside protected zones.
Pest potential for entry, establishment and spread in the EU territory ▹ The pest can enter the EU by human assisted spread. The climate of the EU is similar to that of the areas where a part of the G. scutellatus complex is established, and the pest's main host plants are present.
The pest can enter the protected zones by human assisted spread or by natural spread from EU areas where the pest is present. The climate of the EU protected zones is similar to that of the MS where a part of the G. scutellatus complex is established, and the pest's main host plants are present.
Plants for planting are not the main pathway
The mechanism of association with apples is not known. Hitchhiking as a pathway is still poorly documented. [...]
Potential for consequences in the EU territory ▹ The pest inflicts severe defoliation and eventually kills the trees. The defoliation causes the reduction of the stem growth which implies important economic losses in those countries were eucalypts are planted for timber or paper pulp production.
Available measures ▹ There are measures available to prevent entry, establishment and spread. These include pest-free area, debarking of timber, treatment of apple consignments originating from areas surrounded by Eucalyptus plantations, production of plants for planting in protected cultivation, and trade for plants for planting restricted to seeds and in vitro culture.
Eradication is considered not feasible after introduction of the pest in a new area, without removing all host plants in the area. There are no records that the pest has ever been eradicated.
Biological control is successfully implemented in all colonised areas.
Conclusion on pest categorisation ▹ Some species within the Gonipterus scutellatus complex are not yet present in the EU (including Gonipterus scutellatus sensu stricto) and might therefore be considered as potential union quarantine pest for the EU territory.
[...] At least two species within the G. scutellatus complex (most likely G. platensis and Gonipterus species no. 2) meet the criteria assessed by EFSA for consideration as potential protected zone quarantine pests for the territory of the protected zones: Greece and Portugal (Azores).
The criteria for considering the G. scutellatus complex as a potential regulated non-quarantine pest for the EU are not met since plants for planting are not the main pathway.
A complete nomenclature of the species present in the EU is still pending. [...]
Aspects of assessment to focus on/scenarios to address in future if appropriate ▹ The proper quarantine status of each species within the Gonipterus scutellatus complex will have to be re-evaluated after the taxonomic revision of this complex is completed. [...]

EFSA Journal, Vol. 16, No. 1. (January 2018), e05107, 
Key: INRMM:14521512



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