Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Naturalization and spread of the alien species Ozognathus cornutus (LeConte, 1859) (Coleoptera: Ptinidae: Ernobiinae) in Italy.

Abstract

Ozognathus cornutus (LeConte, 1859) (Coleoptera: Ptinidae: Ernobiinae), species native to North America, is a saproxylophagous species and is known to feed on decaying tissues within conspicuous galls and on vegetal decaying organic material such as dried fruits or small wood shavings and insect excrements in galleries made by other woodboring species. A few years after the first record in 2011, its naturalization in Italy is here reported. The insect was found as successor in galls of Psectrosema tamaricis (Diptera Cecidomyiidae), Plagiotrochus gallaeramulorum, Andricus multiplicatus and Synophrus politus (Hymenoptera Cynipidae). The galls seem to have played an important ecological role in speeding up the naturalization process. The lowest proportion of galls used by O. cornutus was recorded for P. tamaricis (23%), the only host belonging to Cecidomyiidae, while the percentages recorded for the other host species, all Cynipidae forming galls on oaks, were higher: 43.6%, 61.1% and 76.9% in A multiplicatus, S. politus and P. gallaeramulorum, respectively. Although O. cornutus is able to exploit other substrates like dried fruits and vegetables, for which it could represent a potential pest, it prefers to live as a successor in woody and conspicuous galls, which thus can represent a sort of natural barrier limiting the possible damages to other substrates.