Invasive Beetle Threatens Fruit Trees

Jim Crocker
4th June, 2024

Invasive Beetle Threatens Fruit Trees

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study by the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization in Japan evaluated the potential damage the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) could inflict on major fruit species
  • Male ALB beetles were most attracted to the odor of cherry branches, indicating cherry trees could be particularly appealing to them
  • Japanese pear trees were the most consumed by ALB, posing a significant risk to pear orchards, and also showed a high potential for egg-laying by the beetles
The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), Anoplophora glabripennis, is a highly destructive pest known for infesting a variety of tree species. Originating from East Asia, it has become a significant threat in various parts of the world, including Japan. Recently, the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization conducted a study to evaluate the potential damage ALB could inflict on major fruit species in Japan[1]. This research is crucial as it addresses the risk posed by ALB to economically valuable fruit production, specifically targeting apple, pear, and plum trees. The study primarily aimed to determine ALB’s attraction to the odor of different tree species and its feeding and oviposition (egg-laying) preferences. The researchers tested two confirmed host plant species and five Rosaceae fruit species. In the laboratory, they observed the adult beetle’s orientation towards the odor of each tree species' branches. They also conducted feeding-preference assays among the branches of one host plant and the five fruit trees, as well as oviposition preference tests. The findings revealed that among the fruit species, cherry branches had the highest rate of odor orientation by male beetles. This suggests that cherry trees could be particularly attractive to ALB males. In terms of feeding preferences, the Japanese pear was the most consumed among the fruit trees, indicating a significant risk to pear orchards. Furthermore, the study showed a high potential risk of ALB laying eggs on Japanese pear branches, with above-zero risk for plum, apple, and cherry branches as well. These findings expand on previous research that has explored the chemical ecology and trapping techniques for ALB. For instance, earlier studies have identified various semiochemicals (chemicals used for communication between organisms) that play a role in host and mate location for ALB[2]. Specifically, sesquiterpenes have been highlighted as important host-origin chemicals. The new study builds on this by providing specific insights into the preferences of ALB for certain fruit tree species, which is vital for developing targeted management strategies. Moreover, the study aligns with previous explorative experiments that examined the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from infested and healthy trees. These experiments identified substances such as (+)-Cyclosativene, (+)-α-longipinene, and caryophyllene, which are emitted by ALB-infested trees but not by healthy ones[3]. This information contributes to a better understanding of how ALB locates its host trees and can inform the development of more effective lures and traps. In addition, the study's findings are consistent with research on trapping systems that combine male-produced pheromones with plant volatiles to detect ALB. For example, traps using a combination of pheromones and plant volatiles like (-)-linalool and trans-caryophyllene have been shown to catch significantly more ALB females than other combinations[4]. This indicates that a similar approach could be used to monitor and manage ALB populations in fruit orchards. The National Agriculture and Food Research Organization's study provides critical insights into the potential threat of ALB to fruit production in Japan. By identifying the beetle's preferences for certain fruit tree species, the research offers valuable information for developing targeted management and eradication strategies. This knowledge is essential for protecting economically important fruit crops from the devastating impact of ALB infestations.

AgricultureEnvironmentAnimal Science


Main Study

1) Anoplophora glabripennis, an invasive longhorned beetle, has the potential to damage fruit trees in Japan.

Published 3rd June, 2024

Related Studies

2) Chemical Ecology of the Asian Longhorn Beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis.

3) Identification of Anoplophora glabripennis (Moschulsky) by its emitted specific volatile organic compounds.

4) Effects of pheromone and plant volatile release rates and ratios on trapping Anoplophora glabripennis (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) in China.

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