Eucalyptus gall wasp

Eucalyptus gall wasp
Ophelimus maskelli
Leaf gall forming

Small, blister-like galls on either side of eucalypt leaves (Protasov et al. 2007).

A small wasp between 0.83 and 1.07mm. The most distinguishing characteristic is the single seta on the submarginal vein. Other diagnostic features include that the mesoscutum midlobe and scutellum have two pairs of setae, the antennae have four anelli and one furnicular segment and the length of the anelli and funicle are less than the length of the club (Protasov et al. 2007).

Ophelimus maskelli is a uniparental leaf galler. Adult O. maskelli oviposit into the leaf blade of eucalypts, one female can lay an average of 109 eggs and each egg induces a gall. Larvae develop and pupate within the galls, from which the adult wasps emerge. Three generations per year have been reported from Israel (Protasov et al. 2007).

Selection of resistant planting material and biological control. The biological control agent Closterocerus chamaeleon has already been detected in South Africa, presumable introduced with O. maskelli.

 

2014 (Bush et al 2016)
Gauteng, Northern Cape
E. camaldulensis hybrids are particularly susceptible, but other eucalypt species are also attacked.
Australia

Gallery

Adult wasp
Galls of Ophelimus maskelli
Heavily infested lower branches

Bush S, Slippers B, Neser S, Harney M, Dittich-Schröder G, Hurley BP. 2016. Six recently recorded Australian insects associated with Eucalyptus in South Africa. African Entomology 24: 539-544.

Protasov A, La Salle J, Blumberg D, Brand D, Saphir N, Assael F, Fisher N, Mendel Z. 2007. Biology, revised taxonomy and impact on host plants of Ophelimus maskelli an invasive gall inducer on Eucalyptus spp. in the Mediterranean Area. Phytoparasitica 35:50-76