Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Mortality of overwintering emerald ash borer (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) associated with an extreme cold event in New York, United States of America.

Abstract

Severe mortality (93%) of overwintering larvae of emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), was recorded in March 2016 from green ash, Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marshall (Oleaceae), in Syracuse, New York, United States of America. In contrast, larvae collected from the same area in January exhibited <1% mortality. A strong cold front moved across New York from 13 to 15 February 2016 with temperatures plunging to nearly -40°C in some areas. In many regions of New York where A. planipennis is established, temperatures dropped well below the reported supercooling point of overwintering larvae. To evaluate whether the extreme cold was linked to extensive mortality of larvae, trees were sampled from four areas that experienced a gradient of minimum temperatures on 14 February 2016. Overwintering mortality varied from ≤5% to 93% among regions, with lowest survival in the coldest regions. When excised from their galleries, dead larvae were discoloured with brown spots or had black necrotic tissue in the spiracles or foregut. This is the first report of extensive cold-related mortality for this species in North America and highlights the stochastic nature of climatic extremes on invasive species populations.