Are native ranges of the most destructive invasive pests well known? A case study of the native range of the emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis (Coleoptera: Buprestidae).
Knowledge of the native range of invasive pests is vital for understanding their biology, for ecological niche modeling to infer potential invasive distribution, and for searching of natural enemies. Standard descriptions of pest ranges frequently pass from one publication to another without verification. Our goal is to test the reliability of distributional information exemplified by the native range of one of the most destructive and most studied invasive forest insect pests of Asian origin-the emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire. Since the first detections of this notorious insect pest in North America in 2002 and European Russia in 2003, it has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees. Based on the examination of museum specimens and literature sources we compiled the most comprehensive database of records (108 localities) and the most detailed map of the native range of EAB in East Asia to date. There are documented records for 87 mainland localities of EAB in the Russian Far East (Primorskiy, Khabarovskiy Kray), China (Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Beijing, Hebei, Tianjin, Shandong and Xinjiang), and South Korea, and 21 localities in Japan. Records from Nei Mongol, Sichuan, Mongolia, and Taiwan are ambiguous since no documented records are available. The example of EAB shows that standard descriptions of pest ranges could include false or ambiguous data. Compilation of the database of documented localities is the only way to obtain reliable information on the range.