New pest of Eucalyptus detected in South Africa 2014-10-04
In May this year symptoms of a previously unreported insect pest was detected on Eucalyptus in Midrand, Gauteng. While the symptoms appeared similar to those of some Ophelimus species, no gall formers emerged in captivity until recently. The species name must still be confirmed, but the symptoms and adults that have now emerged indicate that it might indeed be Ophelimus maskelli, which is a known pest of Eucalyptus in the Middle East, Europe, North Africa, Mauritius and New Zealand (native to Australia).
The collections of infected leaves originally only resulted in the emergence of Closterocerus chamaeleon, a known larval parasitoid wasp of O. maskelli. Furthermore, a Tetrastichinae wasp (still to be identified) has also emerged from the galls, which is also thought to be a parasitoid of the gall former.
Work by the TPCP is ongoing to confirm the identity of this new pest, understand the threat it poses to Eucalyptus forestry, and investigate possible responses including biological control. It is important to obtain information on the spread and host association of this new pest outside Midrand. Thus, please refer to the attachment and notify Dr Brett Hurley (firstname.lastname@example.org) should you notice the symptoms shown in the attachment on Eucalyptus.
More photos of Ophelimus and the symptoms it causes in printable format in the attached pdf.