Box tree moth (Cydalima perspectalis, Lepidoptera; Crambidae), new invasive insect pest in Croatia.
Background and Purpose: Alien invasive species have been described as an outstanding global problem. Hundreds of species are intentionally and unintentionally moved worldwide and numbers of introductions to new habitats have been accelerated all over the world due to the increasing mobility of people and goods over the past decades. Numerous alien insect species, many of them introduced only in the last 20 years, have become successfully established in various ecosystems in Croatia. Box tree moth (Cydalima perspectalis, Lepidoptera; Crambidae) is an invasive pest recently introduced to Europe causing serious damage to ornamental box (Buxus sp.) shrubs and trees. The aim of this paper is to describe the biology of box tree moth with prognosis of its future spread and damages in Croatia. Material and Methods: Young larvae (first and second larval stage) and adults of box tree moth were collected in August and September 2013 in Arboretum Opeka and in Varaždin. They were brought to the entomological laboratory of Croatian Forest Research Institute where they were reared to pupae and then to moths. Results and Conclusions: The box tree moth was recorded for the first time in North Croatia in August 2013. Larvae were found defoliating box plants (B. sempervirens) in Arboretum Opeka, Vinica and they have been identified as C. prespectalis. According to damages it can be assumed that the pest has been introduced to the region earlier (in 2011 or 2012) and that the primary infection has not been detected. At least two generations per year could be assumed in Croatia in 2013. The damage done to box tree plants on the locality of study is serious. The plants have been defoliated, particularly in the lower parts. The defoliation reduced the amenity value of plants. This is the first record of this pest and its damages in Northern Croatia and it can be expected that the pest will rapidly spread to other parts of Croatia seriously damaging box plants, becoming threat to gardens and parks in Croatia.