Finding of a new bark beetle species in Slovenia.
In 2017, a new bark beetle species was found in Slovenia, namely the Asian ambrosia beetle, Xylosandrus crassiusculus (Motschulsky) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae). X. crassiusculus originates in SE Asia. Due to human-assisted spread the beetle is now present all over the world. In fact, it is one of the most widespread bark beetle species. The Asian ambrosia beetle is extremely polifagous, being able to attack more than 120 species of broadleaved woody plants. It is common in nurseries, plantations, urban areas and in various natural habitats. Due to significant economic losses that it causes in some parts of its non-native range, this bark beetle represents a serious pest. Because it poses serious risk to plant health worldwide, the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO) included X. crassiusculus in the EPPO Alert List of invasive alien species potentially harmful for plant health in the EPPO region. Slovenia has been conducting yearly survey programmes for X. crassiusculus since 2016. These are intended for early detection of this pest, early warning of the occurence and rapid response to prevent damage that the beetle might cause. The Asian ambrosia beetle was first found in Europe in 2003 in Italy, where it has established. Later, reports of the species's occurence came from France and Spain. In 2017, the Asian ambrosia beetle was recorded in the W part of Slovenia. An intensive monitoring that followed suggests that the new bark beetle already occurs in natural habitats in Slovenia. According to the pest risk analysis that has been carried out, environmental conditions in Slovenia favour the establishment and spread of X. crassiusculus in this territory. Since the beetle is presumably spreading to Slovenia naturally from Italy, no phytosasnitary measures to prevent introduction and spread of the species have been proposed. First finding of X. crassiusculus in Slovenia is presented, together with the results of the monitoring in the first year after it was first found.