Histological investigation on gall development induced by a worldwide invasive pest, Dryocosmus kuriphilus, on Castanea sativa.
The Asian chestnut gall wasp Dryocosmus kuriphilus (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) is one of the most serious pests of chestnut trees worldwide. Wasps lay eggs into chestnut buds from mid Jane to late July, depending on latitude, and galls develop the following spring on new vegetation, reducing photosynthesis and nut production. We observed that modification of tissues surrounding D. kuriphilus eggs, which differentiate to form the larval chamber, started approximately 1 month after oviposition, shortly after eggs hatch. The larval chambers continued to increase slightly in size throughout the autumn months until January. After that, a period of stagnation, which corresponds to the plant's dormancy, occurred, followed by rapid growth from March to May, during the period from bud swelling to bud break. Galls continued to grow during the leaf expansion after bud break and stopped when plant organs achieved their final size. Our results have implications for the management of the pest, providing a better understanding of the critical time periods for the effective control.