Schuler H., Witkowski R., van de Vossenberg B., (...), Bełka M., Mazur A. et al. (2023). Recent invasion and eradication of two members of the Euwallacea fornicatus species complex (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) from tropical greenhouses in Europe. Biological Invasions 25, 299–307.
Ambrosia beetles of the Euwallacea fornicatus species complex are emerging tree pests with a broad host range including important agricultural crops. Native to Southeast Asia, these species were introduced into various countries, where they cause considerable damage to many tree species. Here we report several outbreaks of E. fornicatus s.l. in Europe. The first individuals were found in 2017 in a palm house of a botanical garden in Poznan (Poland) whereas in 2020 an outbreak was detected in a tropical greenhouse in Merano (Italy). In 2021, two additional outbreaks were detected in two greenhouses in Germany, in Erfurt and Berlin. For both cases in Germany it was possible to trace back the invasion to a distributor of exotic plants in the Netherlands where several infested plants were detected. Molecular analyses show that individuals from Poland and Italy are genetically identical but belong to a different mitochondrial clade than individuals in Germany which are identical to most individuals of two greenhouses in the Netherlands. Moreover, in the two greenhouses in the Netherlands we found beetles that belong to another haplotype of E. fornicatus and two haplotypes of E. perbrevis, a species in the E. fornicatus complex, which has not been previously intercepted in Europe. Our study provides novel insights into the invasion history of E. fornicatus and the eradication measures in Europe. Considering the potential of introduction and establishment of Euwallacea ambrosia beetles, particular attention should be paid to monitor the presence of these pests in tropical greenhouses across Europe.