Interim profile, incomplete information
Taxonomic name: Gonipterus scutellatus Gyllenhal 1833
Common names: eucalyptus snout beetle, eucalyptus weevil, Eukalyptusrüssler (German), gorgojo del eucalipto (Spanish), gum tree weevil (English)
Organism type: insect
Gonipterus scutellatus, or the eucalyptus snout beetle, is native to Australia. It is specific to Eucalyptus species, and G. scutellatus is considered to be one of the major defoliators of Eucalyptus spp. worldwide. It causes damage to eucalyptus in both larval and adult stages, in particular to the young leaves and repeated defoliation by G. scutellatus can lead to tree death. However, the egg parasitoid Anaphes nitens has been introduced as a successful biological control agent in several countries.
natural forests, planted forests
The only hosts are Eucalyptus spp., of which the most susceptible are Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus maidenii, Eucalyptus punctata, Eucalyptus robusta, Eucalyptus smithii and Eucalyptus viminalis (Griffith, 1959 in Walker 2008).
Feeding by Gonipterus spp. leads to characteristically scalloped leaf edges, with a resultant dieback of shoot tips and development of tufts of epicormic shoots (Walker 2008). G. scutellatus are important defoliators of Eucalyptus spp. Trees become stunted and may split and die.
Notes on taxonomy and nomenclature: a third species, Gonipterus platensis Marelli, was described in Argentina and said to be different from both G. gibberus and G. scutellatus (Marelli, 1927). Rosado-Neto (1993) treats it as a synonym of G. scutellatus (from EPPO, 2005).
Native range: Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia (EPPO, 2005; CABI 2010)
Known introduced range: Europe (France, Corsica, Mainland France, Italy, Mainland Italy, Portugal, Mainland Portugal, Spain, Canary Islands, Mainland Spain), Africa (Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, St. Helena, Swaziland, Uganda, Zimbabwe), North America (USA, California), South America (Argentina, Brazil, Espirito Santo, Parana, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Sao Paulo, Chile, Uruguay), Oceania: New Zealand (EPPO, 2005; CABI, 2010).
Introduction pathways to new locations
Forestry: Transportation of wood. (Wilcken et al. 2008).
Host: Transportation of host.
Nursery trade: May be present on plants/plant material. (EPPO 2005).
Other: On clothing/footwear, hikers' clothes/boots - when disturbed, adult Gonipterus scutellatus readily drop from tree branches and cling to whatever they land on. (Hanks et al. 2000).
Road vehicles (long distance): Larvae and/or pupae may be present in soil. (EPPO 2005).
Solid wood packing material: Transportation of wood. (Wilcken et al. 2008).
Translocation of machinery/equipment: Larvae and/or pupae may be present in soil. (EPPO 2005).
Transportation of habitat material: May be present on plants/plant material. (EPPO 2005).
Local dispersal methods
Forestry (local): Transportation of wood. (Wilcken et al. 2008).
Hikers' clothes/boots: When disturbed, adult Gonipterus scutellatus readily drop from tree branches and cling to whatever they land on. (Hanks et al. 2000).
Host (local): Transportation of host.
Natural dispersal (local): Adult G. scutellatus are able to fly short distances. (EPPO 2005).
On clothing/footwear: When disturbed, adult Gonipterus scutellatus readily drop from tree branches and cling to whatever they land on. (Hanks et al. 2000).
Translocation of machinery/equipment (local): Larvae and/or pupae may be present in soil. (EPPO 2005).
Transportation of habitat material (local): May be present on plants/plant material. (EPPO 2005).
The mymarid solitary-egg parasitoid Anaphes nitens, an Australian native, has been used as a successful biocontrol agent against G. scutellatus in several countries. These include Brazil, Chile, Mauritius, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and the United States. A. nitens larvae feed directly on and from within G. scutellatus host eggs. (Hanks et al. 2000; Santolamazza-Carbone et al. 2009; Wilcken et al. 2008; Williams et al. 1951; Withers 2001).
Chemical methods are not recommended for control of G. scutellatus as honey bees are frequent visitors of Eucalyptus spp. during its long flowering season. (EPPO 2005).
G. scutellatus is listed as an A2 quarantine pest for the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO), and it is regulated by most EPPO countries, particularly the EU. Eucalyptus species introduced into endangered countries in form of plant or cuttings must originate from a pest-free area, or the plants must be free of soil, and treated for G. scutellatus. (EPPO 2005).
Compiled by: IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme (OTEP) project XOT603, a joint project with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment
Last Modified: Tuesday, 28 September 2010