Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Adoretus sinicus
(Chinese rose beetle)

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Datasheet

Adoretus sinicus (Chinese rose beetle)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 27 September 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Adoretus sinicus
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Chinese rose beetle
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Adoretus sinicus is a polyphagous beetle, native to parts of eastern Asia, which has been introduced (probably via the plant trade) widely throughout much of Southeast Asia and many Pacific islands, and has the...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Two adult Adoretus sinicus on a leaf, showing typical interveinal feeding damage.
TitleFeeding damage
CaptionTwo adult Adoretus sinicus on a leaf, showing typical interveinal feeding damage.
CopyrightGrant T. McQuate/USDA-ARS, Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, Hilo, Hawaii.
Two adult Adoretus sinicus on a leaf, showing typical interveinal feeding damage.
Feeding damageTwo adult Adoretus sinicus on a leaf, showing typical interveinal feeding damage.Grant T. McQuate/USDA-ARS, Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, Hilo, Hawaii.
Male and female Chinese rose beetles, Adoretus sinicus. (Note scale)
TitleAdults
CaptionMale and female Chinese rose beetles, Adoretus sinicus. (Note scale)
CopyrightMary Liz Jameson/USDA-ARS, Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, Hilo, Hawaii
Male and female Chinese rose beetles, Adoretus sinicus. (Note scale)
AdultsMale and female Chinese rose beetles, Adoretus sinicus. (Note scale)Mary Liz Jameson/USDA-ARS, Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, Hilo, Hawaii

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Adoretus sinicus Burmeister, 1855

Preferred Common Name

  • Chinese rose beetle

International Common Names

  • English: brown chestnut chafer; Oriental rose beetle; rose beetle

Local Common Names

  • Australia: Chinese rose chafer

EPPO code

  • ADORSI (Adoretus sinicus)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Adoretus sinicus is a polyphagous beetle, native to parts of eastern Asia, which has been introduced (probably via the plant trade) widely throughout much of Southeast Asia and many Pacific islands, and has the potential to spread further. It feeds on a broad range of plants and can cause severe damage to crops, ornamental plants and trees in places where it has been introduced. USDA-APHIS (United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) included it on the Regulated Plant Pest List (USDA-APHIS, 2000).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Coleoptera
  •                         Family: Scarabaeidae
  •                             Genus: Adoretus
  •                                 Species: Adoretus sinicus

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The Chinese rose beetle, Adoretus sinicus (Burmeister) belongs to the Order Coleoptera, Family Scarabaeidae, Subfamily Rutelinae, Tribe Adoretini (McQuate and Jameson, 2011b). The family Scarabaeidae contains about 2000 genera and 25,000 species in 20 subfamilies and many tribes (Leal, 1998).  A. sinicus was first identified as A. umbrosus L. and later as A. tenuimaculatus Waterhouse (Pemberton, 1964).  In 1912, Friedrich Ohaus identified the species as Adoretus sinicus in Hawaii.

The genus Adoretus includes approximately 460 species (Krajcik, 2007). Several of the other species are also pests and invasive species: A. bicolor Brenske, A. caliginosus Burmeister, A. compressus (Weber), A. hirsutus Ohaus, A. ranunculus Burmeister, A. tenuimaculatus Waterhouse, and A. versutus Harold (McQuate and Jameson, 2011b).

A. tenuimaculatus Waterhouse, 1875 and A. sinicus (Burmeister), 1855 are sometimes confused; see the ‘Similarities to other species/conditions’ section for the morphological distinction between the two.

Description

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Taxonomic identification of the Adoretini is problematic.  Adults of species in the genus Adoretus are similar externally, about 10 mm long and brownish in colour with cream-coloured scales. The scientific literature for identification is scarce (regional publications include those by Péringuey (1902), Arrow (1917) and Baraud (1985)), and the form of the male genitalia is considered the best method for identification (McQuate and Jameson, 2011b).

Adults are oblong oval, reddish-brown and covered with cream-coloured, dense scale-like setae which give them an overall greyish colour.  The body is from 10-12 mm long (McQuate and Jameson, 2011b).  Larvae are white, C-shaped grubs with a conspicuous head and short legs (Mau and Kessing, 1991). Pupae are 6.0-12.0 mm long, and covered with dense, short setae (Habeck, 1964).  Eggs are oval, 1.5 x 1.0 mm, and white, becoming duller before hatching (Habeck, 1963).

McQuate and Jameson (2011b) found that females were significantly larger than males (mean ± SE: length (female): 11.65 ± 0.067 mm; (male): 10.71 ± 0.047 mm; F = 130.91, df = 1, 198, p < 0.0001; width (female): 5.39 ± 0.014 mm; (male): 4.97 ± 0.024 mm; F = 228.17, df = 1, 198, p < 0.0001), although size overlap between the sexes makes these measurements unreliable for sex determination. The form of the apex of the terminal sternite provides clear separation of the sexes -- it is always rounded posteriorly in females and always quadrate in males. Males have more acute protibial teeth than females, and the relative ratios of protarsomere 1 are also reliable characters for sex determination.

The unusual mouthparts result in a characteristic interveinal defoliation pattern. The labrum is produced ventrally at the middle and forms a tooth-like process that completely separates the mandible and the maxillae into two independent chewing apparati that do not meet in the middle.  Beetles feed with only one side of the mouth at a time; this produces paired holes in leaves and a narrow strip of leaf is left intact in the middle (McQuate and Jameson, 2011b, citing Arrow, 1917).

Distribution

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According to Mau and Kessing (1991), Adoretus sinicus is originally from Japan and Taiwan, but as a result of introductions it has a widespread distribution throughout much of Southeast Asia and many Pacific Islands (Mau and Kessing, 1991). According to Pemberton (1964), citing Ohaus (1912), before its identification in Hawaii it was known from China, Java and Formosa [Taiwan]. It has also been reported from Kolhapur District, India (Bhawane et al., 2012), and from stored shipping containers in Queensland, Australia (Stanaway et al., 2001).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

CambodiaAbsent, invalid recordCIE, 1981; EPPO, 2014
ChinaPresentCIE, 1981; EPPO, 2014
-FujianPresentEPPO, 2014
-Hong KongPresentCIE, 1981; EPPO, 2014
-JiangsuPresentEPPO, 2014
-MacauPresentEPPO, 2014
-ZhejiangPresentEPPO, 2014
IndiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-MaharashtraPresentIntroduced Invasive Bhawane et al., 2012Kolhapur district
IndonesiaPresentCIE, 1981; EPPO, 2014
-JavaPresentCIE, 1981; IRRI, 1984; EPPO, 2014
-Nusa TenggaraPresentCIE, 1981; EPPO, 2014
JapanAbsent, unreliable recordCIE, 1981; Mau and Kessing, 1991
Korea, Republic ofPresentAPPPC, 1987
LaosAbsent, invalid recordCIE, 1981; EPPO, 2014
MalaysiaPresentWaterhouse, 1993
SingaporePresentCIE, 1981; EPPO, 2014
TaiwanPresentNativeCIE, 1981; Mau and Kessing, 1991; EPPO, 2014
ThailandPresentCIE, 1981; EPPO, 2014
VietnamPresentCIE, 1981; EPPO, 2014

North America

USARestricted distributionEPPO, 2014
-HawaiiWidespreadIntroduced Invasive CIE, 1981; Mau and Kessing, 1991; EPPO, 2014All major islands

Oceania

American SamoaPresentIntroduced Invasive Tsutsumi et al., 1993
Australia
-QueenslandAbsent, intercepted onlyIntroducedStanaway et al., 2001In maritime containers
Caroline IslandsPresentCIE, 1981
GuamPresentIntroduced1949 Invasive Pemberton, 1954; CIE, 1981; EPPO, 2014
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentEPPO, 2014
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Pemberton, 1954; CIE, 1981; EPPO, 2014On Saipan, Tinian and Rota by 1954

History of Introduction and Spread

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A. sinicus probably came to Hawaii as larvae in soil with imported plants from China, Taiwan, Java and Timor (Ohaus, 1935; Pemberton, 1964). It was first reported on Oahu in 1891 (Riley and Howard, 1893; Jackson and Klein, 2006).  By 1898 it was established on all the major Hawaiian islands (Koebele, 1898).  In 1917 it was recognized as one of the worst garden pests of Hawaii (Muir, 1917). It was introduced to Guam by 1949 (Pemberton, 1954).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Guam Hawaii 1949 Yes No Pemberton (1954)
Hawaii before 1896 Yes No Mau and Kessing (1991)

Risk of Introduction

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A. sinicus is of biosecurity concern (as are some other members of the genus) due to its broad host range, its ease of transport with cultivated plants in soil or roots, the severe damage it can cause, and its history of establishment in numerous regions (McQuate and Jameson, 2011b). Its presence in shipping containers in Australia (Stanaway et al., 2001) indicates another possible means of transport. Gregory et al. (2005), in a project at a port in New Jersey, identified it as a potential invader that might arrive in agricultural produce. It is considered to have moderate potential for invasive risk in the mainland USA (McQuate and Jameson, 2011b).

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial-managed
Cultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Natural forests Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)

Hosts/Species Affected

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Maki (1916) reported A. sinicus as one of the injurious insects of the mulberry tree (Morus) in Taiwan.  In 1924, Pope (1925) found A. sinicus “(tenuimaculatus, Japanese beetle)” to be the only serious pest of grapes in Hawaii feeding on the foliage.

McQuate and Jameson (2011b) reviewed the plant hosts of adult A. sinicus.  They reported that the species feeds on over 250 species and approximately 56 families of plants according to Habeck (1964), or on over 500 plant species according to Hession et al. (1994). They state, citing Mau and Kessing (1991), Arita et al. (1993) and Zee et al. (2003), that “Host plants include many economically important (crop) plants such as broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica Plenck), cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata L.), cacao (Theobroma cacao L.), Chinese broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. var. alboglabra), Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa L. subsp. chinensis [L.] Hanelt [or Brassica chinensis]), chiso (Perilla frutescens [L.] Britton), corn (Zea mays L.), cotton (Gossypium barbadense L.), cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), eggplant (Solanum melongena L.), ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe), grape (Vitis labrusca Bailey), green beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), jack fruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam.), okra (Hibiscus esculentus L. [Abelmoschus esculentus]), peanuts (Arachis hypogaea L.), Oriental persimmon (Diospyros kaki Thunb.), raspberry (Rubus niveus Thunb.), roses (Rosa spp.), salak palm (Salacca zalacca Gaerther), soybean (Glycine max L.), star fruit (Averrhoa carambola L.), strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis [L.] Duch.), sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas [L.]), taro (Colocasia esculenta [L.] Schott) and tea (Camellia sinensis L.)”.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Abelmoschus esculentus (okra)MalvaceaeUnknown
Abutilon menziesiiMalvaceaeUnknown
Acalypha (Copperleaf)EuphorbiaceaeMain
AlocasiaAraceaeMain
Arachis hypogaea (groundnut)FabaceaeUnknown
Artocarpus heterophyllus (jackfruit)MoraceaeUnknown
Asparagus officinalis (asparagus)LiliaceaeUnknown
Berrya cordifoliaTiliaceaeUnknown
Brassica oleracea (cabbages, cauliflowers)BrassicaceaeUnknown
Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis (Chinese cabbage)BrassicaceaeUnknown
Cajanus cajan (pigeon pea)FabaceaeMain
Camellia sinensis (tea)TheaceaeUnknown
CannaCannaceaeMain
Carya (hickories)JuglandaceaeUnknown
Colocasia esculenta (taro)AraceaeUnknown
Colubrina oppositifoliaRhamnaceaeUnknown
Commelina communis (common dayflower)CommelinaceaeUnknown
Cucumis sativus (cucumber)CucurbitaceaeUnknown
Diospyros kaki (persimmon)EbenaceaeUnknown
Fragaria (strawberry)RosaceaeUnknown
Glycine max (soyabean)FabaceaeMain
Gossypium (cotton)MalvaceaeUnknown
Hibiscadelphus distansMalvaceaeUnknown
Hibiscus tiliaceus (coast cottonwood)MalvaceaeOther
Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato)ConvolvulaceaeUnknown
Liquidambar taiwanianaHamamelidaceaeUnknown
Morus alba (mora)MoraceaeUnknown
Musa x paradisiaca (plantain)MusaceaeMain
Perilla frutescensLamiaceaeUnknown
Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean)FabaceaeUnknown
Rosa (roses)RosaceaeMain
Rubus (blackberry, raspberry)RosaceaeUnknown
Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane)PoaceaeUnknown
Salacca zalaccaArecaceaeUnknown
Sapium sebiferum (Chinese tallow tree)EuphorbiaceaeUnknown
Solanum melongena (aubergine)SolanaceaeUnknown
Theobroma cacao (cocoa)SterculiaceaeMain
Vitis (grape)VitaceaeUnknown
Vitis vinifera (grapevine)VitaceaeMain
XimeniaOlacaceaeUnknown
Zea mays (maize)PoaceaeUnknown
Zingiber officinale (ginger)ZingiberaceaeUnknown

Symptoms

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A. sinicus adult nocturnal feeding on crops and plant foliage causes a lace-like or shot hole appearance on leaves (Mau and Kessing, 1991); the morphology of the mouthparts results in paired holes with a narrow strip of intact leaf between them (McQuate and Jameson, 2011b, citing Arrow, 1917). In severe cases most leaves are “skeletonized” (Mau and Kessing, 1991), leaving just the veins.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Growing point / external feeding
Growing point / lesions
Inflorescence / external feeding
Leaves / external feeding
Leaves / necrotic areas
Leaves / shredding
Whole plant / external feeding

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

Molecular tools are being developed to aid in the identification of adults and larvae of the Adoretini (McQuate and Jameson, 2011b).  DNA in larval-adult species associations within scarab beetle communities from Nepal has been examined.  Larval specimens were associated 86.1% and 92.7% of the time with 19 known adult species based on about 1600 base pairs of mitochondrial COX1 and RRNL, and 700 base pairs of nuclear 28S rRNA. Nine morphotypes in the sample were members of the genus Adoretus, but only two morphotypes could be identified to species (McQuate and Jameson, 2011b, citing Ahrens et al., 2007).

Reproductive Biology

Temperature and substrate quality determine the rate of development from egg to adult.  In the laboratory this takes approximately 15 weeks (Habeck, 1964), while in the field it can be completed in 6-7 weeks (Mau and Kessing, 1991).

Mating begins 30 minutes after sunset (Tsutsumi et al., 1993). Egg clutch size averages 54 eggs. The eggs are laid in the soil within 1.25 to 2.5 cm (Mau and Kessing, 1991) or 4 cm (Habeck, 1964) of the surface. Temperatures of 24.0° C and 28.6° C yield periods of egg development of 12-16 days and 7-13 days, respectively (Habeck, 1964).

A. sinicus has three larval instars.  The first instar lasts 19.6-22.8 days, the second instar lasts 14.5-16.8 days, and the third instar lasts 34.3-44.4 days (Habeck, 1964); according to Mau and Kessing (1991), the larval stage lasts 3-4 weeks in total. Larvae live in rich soil, leaf litter, decaying vegetation, or compost (Mau and Kessing, 1991).

The pupal stage lasts 11-17 days, an average of 14 days (Habeck, 1964).

Longevity

In the laboratory, field-collected adults live 8 weeks (Habeck, 1964).

Activity Patterns

Adult A. sinicus are nocturnal.  During daylight hours they hide under leaves or tree bark or in the soil; they emerge at dusk to feed (Williams, 1931). Thirty minutes after sunset, peak mating and feeding activity occur (Tsutsumi et al., 1993). McQuate (2013), studying A. sinicus activity patterns in the light of the recent demonstration that illumination of plants at dusk has the potential to discourage feeding by adults, found that initiation of beetle colonization of plants occurred on average more than 21 minutes after sunset. Attraction to light at night seems to be considerably less in Adoretus spp. than in other scarab beetle species (G.T. McQuate, Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, Hilo, Hawaii, USA, personal communication, 2013).

Nutrition

Larvae live in rich soil, leaf litter, decaying vegetation, or compost (Mau and Kessing, 1991), and feed on humus and detritus rather than living plant tissue according to Williams (1931); on the other hand Bhawane et al. (2012) say that they feed on seedlings.

Adults feed on plant foliage of a wide range of species at night, beginning at dusk (Ebesu, 2003).  They create a lace-like appearance by eating between leaf veins.  In severe cases most leaves are “skeletonized” (Mau and Kessing, 1991).

Smith et al. (2009) state that “within Hawaii, A. sinicus feeds on over 500 plant species including major crops such as taro, corn and beans ([Arita-]Tsutsumi et al., 1994). As adults, A. sinicus beetles are nocturnal feeders and are attracted to ethylene gas released by damaged leaves (Arita et al., 1988; Mau and Kessing, 2002 [1991])”.

Adults prefer leaves and plant species that are high in non-structural carbohydrates (Arita et al., 1993).  They prefer leaves that have been chewed (Pemberton, 1959). High carbohydrate content in snap bean leaves stimulates A. sinicus feeding (Furutani et al., 1993). In paired comparisons between the cultivars Hawaiian Wonder and Green Crop, and Kentucky Wonder and Blue Lake Bush 274 grown in the same environmental conditions, the cultivar of each pair with the greatest carbohydrate concentration was fed on the most.

Tsutsumi et al. (1993) showed that A. sinicus prefers recently matured leaves in the uppermost part of the plant, whereas A. versutus prefers younger leaves in the lower part.

Environmental Requirements

Temperature and substrate quality determine the rate of development from egg to adult.  In the laboratory this takes approximately 15 weeks (Habeck, 1964), while in the field it can be completed in 6-7 weeks (Mau and Kessing, 1991).  Further research is needed to determine the habitat requirements of A. sinicus as they relate to IPM measures, in order to be able to implement more effective control programs. Soil moisture is an environmental requirement for egg development.  The optimal combination of air temperature and relative humidity for each of the life stadia is not known.  Ehehorn (1915) stated that in the summer of 1914 A. tenuimaculatus, the Japanese rose beetle, had been very abundant in the absence of a fungus that kept it in check -- the severe dry weather prevented the growth of the fungus.  This species was later correctly classified as A. sinicus (Muir, 1920).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Beauveria bassiana Pathogen Adults not specific Hawaii Many plant crop and tree species
Campsomeris marginella modesta Predator/parasite Adults not specific Guam, Hawaii Many plant crop and tree species
Hamaxia incongrua Predator/parasite Hawaii ornamental plants
Metarhizium anisopliae Pathogen Adults/Larvae not specific
Ocromeigenia ormioides Predator/parasite Adults not specific Hawaii Many plant crop and tree species
Tiphia ashmeadi Predator/parasite Hawaii
Tiphia lucida Predator/parasite Adults not specific Hawaii Many plant crop and tree species
Tiphia segregata Predator/parasite Adults not specific Hawaii Many plant crop and tree species

Notes on Natural Enemies

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In Hawaii, several species of natural enemies of A. sinicus were introduced as biological control agents against this or other species, without significantly controlling A. sinicus (Mau and Kessing, 1991; Pemberton, 1964). Campsomeris marginella modesta Smith (Hymenoptera: Scoliidae) and Tiphia segregata Crawford (Hymenoptera: Tiphiidae) were introduced from the Philippines into Hawaii to control A. sinicus and another invasive Rutelinae scarab beetle Anomala orientalis [Blitopertha orientalis] (Muir, 1917, 1919), and 'materially checked' A. sinicus without controlling it fully (Pemberton, 1954).  Tiphia lucida Crawford in Adoretus from the Philippines also failed to control A. sinicus in Hawaii (Pemberton, 1964).  Other natural enemies include frogs and toads, and the fungi Beauveria bassiana and green muscardine fungus (Metarhizium anisopliae) (Fang et al., 1985), and also the tachinid Ocromeigenia ormioides, a scoliid (Tiphia sp.) and a carabid predator, which were introduced to Hawaii from Formosa (now Taiwan) in 1925-6 (Fullaway, 1927).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

Dispersal of A. sinicus by strong winds during flight needs more research.  Perhaps this data could be used to monitor the beetles from coastal areas, over the ocean and to the place that they get blown to, especially after a tropical cyclone or typhoon.

Accidental Introduction

A. sinicus eggs and larvae may be easily transported with cultivated plants in soil or roots (Ohaus, 1935); as a result, the species is of biosecurity concern (McQuate and Jameson, 2011b).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
HitchhikerIn ornamental plant trade Yes McQuate and Jameson, 2011b
Self-propelled Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Containers and packaging - non-woodAdults Yes Stanaway et al., 2001
Soil, sand and gravelEggs, larvae or adults in soil of potted plants Yes McQuate and Jameson, 2011b

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Growing medium accompanying plants adults; eggs; larvae Yes Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Leaves adults Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Roots eggs; larvae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Negative
Economic/livelihood Negative
Environment (generally) Negative

Economic Impact

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A. sinicus feeds on many economically important crop plants; for more information see the ‘Hosts/Species Affected’ section’. Examples of reports of its effects include the following:

Smith et al. (2009) considered that cacao growing had the potential to become economically significant in Hawaii, but that A. sinicus could, in view of the damage it causes to other common Hawaiian crops, be an important determinant of cacao production there.

Hummer et al. (2007) reported that A. sinicus, together with the thrips Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis, caused some foliar damage to blueberry plants on the Island of Hawaii.

Observations made in central Taiwan in 1979-80 on arthropod pests of roses showed that A. sinicus was one of the 10 most important species (Wang, 1982).

In China, A. sinicus was reported by Fang et al. (1985) to be an important pest of several plant species such as tallow trees [Ximenia?], Liquidambar taiwaniana, white poplar and hickory trees [Carya].

Berrya cordifolia was repeatedly attacked during a 5-year study in Lualualei, Oahu Island, Hawaii, of trees considered to have potential for forestry in Hawaii (Whitesell and Walters, 1976).

On the other hand, in studies conducted on Kauai, Hawaii, to identify potential arthropod vectors of maize chlorotic mottle virus, A. sinicus was not found to transmit the virus (of six arthropod species found in MCMV-infected maize fields and tested for their transmission capability, only the thrips Frankliniella williamsi was found to transmit the virus) (Jiang et al., 1992).

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Biodiversity

A. sinicus is a generalist polyphagous non-specific pest of plant species including crops, ornamentals and forest trees. It feeds on over 250 species and approximately 56 families of plants according to Habeck (1964), or on over 500 plant species according to Hession et al. (1994).  Species that have not coevolved with A. sinicus are likely to be impacted. In Hawaii (Oahu), threats to the endangered tree Colubrina oppositifolia include A. sinicus (as well as other insect pests, invasive plants and others) (US Fish and Wildlife Service 1994, 2002; Baskin et al., 2007). Also in Hawaii, Howarth (1985) reported that certain native plants were especially attractive to A. sinicus and were jeopardized by it, for example the proposed endangered species Hibiscadelphus distans and Abutilon menziesii.

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Abutilon menziesiiCR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered)HawaiiHerbivory/grazing/browsingHowarth, 1985
Colubrina oppositifoliaCR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered)HawaiiHerbivory/grazing/browsingMeyer, 1997
Hibiscadelphus distansCR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered)HawaiiHerbivory/grazing/browsingHowarth, 1985
Plantago princepsNatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiPest and disease transmissionUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Gregarious
Impact outcomes
  • Altered trophic level
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Host damage
  • Increases vulnerability to invasions
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts cultural/traditional practices
  • Negatively impacts forestry
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
  • Negatively impacts trade/international relations
Impact mechanisms
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Herbivory/grazing/browsing
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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Environmental Services

Potentially invasive plant species can be kept under control by herbivorous insects from their native range; this seems to be the case for the Chinese tallow tree Sapium sebiferum (or Triadica sebifera) in Hawaii where A. sinicus is abundant, in contrast to the southern USA where A. sinicus is not present and S. sebiferum is invasive (Siemann and Rogers, 2003). Adoretus sinicus is a natural enemy of the white mulberry Morus alba which is also invasive in parts of the USA (Zheng et al., 2006). Meyer (1997) notes that leaves of the invasive tree Miconia calvescens in the Pacific islands are often extensively destroyed by A. sinicus, but that the impact of A. sinicus on this species has not been evaluated.

Despite the effect of A. sinicus on some invasive species, the fact that it is an important and non-specific pest presumably makes it unlikely to be introduced anywhere as a biological control agent.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Adults of species in the genus Adoretus are similar externally; in particular A. sinicus is sometimes confused with A. tenuimaculatus (McQuate and Jameson, 2011b).

McQuate and Jameson (2011b) compared the two species stating, “In males of A. tenuimaculatus, the fifth protarsomere is slightly thickened and armed with an internomedial tooth, whereas in females the fifth protarsomere is gracile and only slightly developed internomedially. This character was not useful, however, in separating males and females of A. sinicus.

Prevention and Control

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The utilization of pesticides, parasitoids, entomopathogens and attractant pheromones has been ineffective in Hawaii (Beardsley, 1993).

Cultural Control and Sanitary Measures

Turning the soil of planted fields might destroy eggs and larvae.

Physical/Mechanical Control

Night-time illumination can be used as a means of reducing A. sinicus population size and defoliation of host plants (McQuate and Jameson, 2011a; Shimabukuro and Tsutsumi, 2008). Use of lighting to discourage colonization and associated defoliation should be initiated at sunset (McQuate, 2013). Other methods proposed for control include tilling soil (both active and dormant beetles are concentrated in the surface soil), nursery irrigation (Fang et al., 1985), and collecting adult beetles by hand at night and putting them in a soapy water solution (G.T. McQuate, Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, Hilo, Hawaii, USA, personal communication, 2013).

Movement Control

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) possess the authority to carry out the mission of protecting American agriculture from plant pests.  The Plant Protection Act of 2000 (PPA) provides the authority to prohibit or restrict imports, exports, or biological control agents, and means of conveyance.  The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and PPQ are the regulatory agencies provided with the authority to take regulatory action and enforce restrictions and prohibitions under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs). Legislation lists A. sinicus as a pest of concern, and restricts and prohibits the movement of fresh fruits, vegetables, cactus, cut flowers, mango seed, and rice straw from Hawaii to the continental United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands, and of fresh fruits and vegetables, cotton and cotton covers, sugarcane, cereals, cut flowers, and packing materials from Guam to the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USDA-APHIS-PPQ, 2012).

Biological Control

The green muscardine fungus, Metarhizium anisopliae has been observed to destroy grubs and adults particularly during the wet season (Williams, 1931; Koebele, 1897). M. anisopliae var. majus (Metschnikov) Sorokin [Metarhizium majus] and Beauveria brongniartii (Saccardo) Petch are entomopathogenic fungi that have been tested on larvae of A. sinicus (Koebele, 1897; Williams, 1931; Tsutsumi et al., 1993; Jackson and Klein, 2006). Fang et al. (1985) reported the use of B. bassiana and M. anisopliae.

Entomopathogenic nematodes belonging to the families Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae could potentially be utilized to control A. sinicus larvae and adults, and thus minimize chemical control with pesticides (McQuate and Jameson, 2011b).  Hara et al. (1989) tested the nematodes Steinernema carpocapsae (Weiser) and Heterorhabditis sp. MB7 (Maui isolate) on adults and found them to be ineffective.  Tests on larvae also found these nematodes to be ineffective (Tsutsumi et al., 1993).

In Hawaii, several insect natural enemies of A. sinicus were introduced as biological control agents against this or other species, without significantly controlling A. sinicus (Mau and Kessing, 1991; Pemberton, 1964). Campsomeris marginella modesta Smith (Hymenoptera: Scoliidae) and Tiphia segregata Crawford (Hymenoptera: Tiphiidae) were introduced from the Philippines into Hawaii to control A. sinicus and another invasive Rutelinae scarab beetle, Anomala orientalis [Blitopertha orientalis] (Muir, 1917, 1919), and 'materially checked' A. sinicus without controlling it fully (Pemberton, 1954). Tiphia lucida Crawford in Adoretus from the Philippines also failed to control A. sinicus in Hawaii (Pemberton, 1964).  The tachinid Ocromeigenia ormioides, a scoliid (Tiphia sp.) and a carabid predator were also introduced to Hawaii from Formosa (now Taiwan) in 1925-6 (Fullaway, 1927).

Gilmartin (2005) argues that parasitoids should not be used for biological control in Hawaii because of the potential severe effects on non-target species and the risk of introducing exotic parasitoids.

Chemical Control

Suppression of A. sinicus has relied on broad-spectrum organophosphate insecticides (e.g. carbaryl) that often have a negative impact on non-target or beneficial insects (Arita-Tsutsumi et al., 1994; Tsutsumi et al., 1993). An azadirachtin-based antifeedant pesticide and imidicloprid-based systemic pesticides have been tested and found to help in the control of A. sinicus (Arita-Tsutsumi et al., 1995).  Fang et al. (1985) reported chemical control using trichlorfon or cyanthoate.

Gilmartin (2005) argues that broad-spectrum insecticides should not be used for pest control in Hawaii because of the potential severe effects on non-target species.

Repellents and Attractants

Although leaf volatiles have been identified as scarab attractants they are not known as lures because of their volatility.  This makes their application difficult (Leal, 1998).

Hession et al. (1994) proposed the probable existence of a pheromone sex attractant in A. sinicus, which could be used to disrupt mating behaviour.  Synthetic attractants have been developed for A. tessulatus in Australia (Donaldson et al., 1986).

Host Resistance

Lin (1981) carried out field studies in Hawaii in 1976-78 on the resistance of various types of bean crops to arthropod pests. The cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) variety IVU-37 was highly resistant to adults of A. sinicus.  There was a significant negative correlation between leaf toughness and percentage damage by the beetle. Mung-bean (Vigna radiata) varieties that exhibited moderate resistance to other arthropods (Ophiomyia phaseoli and Liriomyza sp.) had relatively high levels of pubescence and antifeedant and low levels of attractant, and the resistance mechanism was thought to be antixenosis.

Monitoring and Surveillance

A. sinicus appears under the category “General Insects” Code 10004 in Appendix E (revised 7/29/2010) of the Aerial Survey Geographic Information System (GIS) Handbook of the USDA Forest Service (USDA Forest Service, 2010), although it has the potential to cause severe damage to plant species including trees.

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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The status of A. sinicus as an invasive defoliator species should be given more attention in order to determine its ecological role and benefits as a biotic regulating factor in its wide geographic range.  It should be monitored in the long term to better understand the environmental factors that trigger its outbreaks and thus allow managers to put preventative measures into effect ahead of an invasion.

The impact on biodiversity is a broad aspect that should receive more consideration in order to learn how the species alters ecosystems’ nutrient cycles, food and nest supplies, and species composition (both animal and plant).

Another important aspect is the determination of an index of invasiveness based on the similarity of the native habitat of the species to habitats abroad that could potentially be invaded.  International cooperative agreements should be sought between Asian countries and Pacific and Western Hemisphere countries to establish comparative research studies on the habitat requirements of A. sinicus.

Invasiveness concerns make improved taxonomic knowledge of the Adoretus group essential. Additional research in systematics (e.g., molecular phylogenetics and DNA sequencing of an individual species to identify it and tag a taxonomic name to a morphological character) is needed within the genus Adoretus given that it is a group that includes many economically important species.  This novel approach would yield the knowledge for the identification of field samples without the need to analyze DNA from them.  Justified by the scarce workforce of taxonomists in this group, larval and adult identification of A. sinicus and its taxonomic relatives should be broadened (ML Jameson, Department of Biological Sciences, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas, USA, personal communication, 2013).

The non-destructive method of sex determination in A. sinicus reported by McQuate and Jameson (2011b) will be instrumental in research aimed at developing improved integrated pest management systems, sex-dependent detection, and monitoring and control methods that make use of pheromones, mating, or reproductive parameters. These tools are of critical importance for managing existing populations as well as future invasions.

Although research in pursuit of an effective attractant has been elusive, there is still a need to discover or develop an attractant to be used in combination with light.  Evidence on the response to light by A. sinicus is conflicting because data has shown attraction and repulsion to light; further research is needed to solve this conflict (GT McQuate, USDA-ARS, U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, Hilo, Hawaii, USA, personal communication, 2013).

Ecological research that is needed includes: 1) climatologic data to correlate A. sinicus abundance to moisture and temperature (e.g. to estimate survival rate in drier soil); 2) biotic (e.g. plant host resistance to the insect) and abiotic (e.g. microclimatic) factors affecting its life cycle, 3) better quantification of the relationship between light intensity and feeding; 4) dispersal pathways other than commerce of potted ornamentals (e.g. wind and oceanic currents); 5) further research on the potential role of natural enemies for different life stages; 6) factors (e.g., predation, drought) limiting population dynamics and insect impact (e.g. the effects of A. sinicus on crop productivity and plant species diversity at the community and ecosystem levels); 7) treatment options and potential effects on target and non-target organisms; 8) the effectiveness of IPM in different geoclimatic regions; and 9) the development of a rapid detection and response protocol including potential control strategies (e.g. biological, microbial and cultural)  to stem an invasion at its onset.

Further research should include the development of Global Information System (GIS) high-resolution satellite imagery to monitor changes in the vegetation due to scarab beetle feeding as an early detection technique.

The way a population is affected after total defoliation of plant hosts by adult beetles should be investigated to learn about the dynamics between invasions.  The dispersal and flight range of the newly hatched individuals facing a lack of vegetation to devour would be interesting to observe.  In addition, destruction of habitat during harvest could force displaced insects to invade new regions. Both facts could point to the next area to be invaded by this pest.

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
Center for Plant Conservationhttp://www.centerforplantconservation.org
Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk Project (HEAR)http://www.hear.org/
Tropicoshttp://www.tropicos.org/
US Fish & Wildlife Service Environmental Conservation Online Systemhttp://ecos.fws.gov/ecos/indexPublic.do
USDA National Agricultural Libraryhttp://www.nal.usda.gov

Organizations

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USA: University of Hawaii-Hilo, University of Hawaii at Hilo, 200 W. Kawili St, Hilo, HI 96720-4091, http://www.hilo.hawaii.edu

USA: USDA-ARS Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center (USDA ARS PBARC), 64 Nowelo St., Hilo, Hawaii 96720, http://www.ars.usda.gov/main/site_main.htm?modecode=53-20-03-00

Contributors

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09/04/2013: Original text by

Alberto García-Moll, consultant, Puerto Rico

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