Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Trirachys holosericeus
(apple stem borer)

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Datasheet

Trirachys holosericeus (apple stem borer)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 31 March 2020
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Trirachys holosericeus
  • Preferred Common Name
  • apple stem borer
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Trirachys holosericeus, a highly polyphagous longhorned beetle, is native to southern Asia from Pakistan to the Philippines. It is a stem-boring pest in natural and planted forests and fruit trees. It attacks p...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Trirachys holosericeus (apple stem borer); adult. Nachane, Maharashtra, India. October 2008.
TitleAdult
CaptionTrirachys holosericeus (apple stem borer); adult. Nachane, Maharashtra, India. October 2008.
Copyright©Vishals_Lab (vishalbhave) - CC BY-NC-SA
Trirachys holosericeus (apple stem borer); adult. Nachane, Maharashtra, India. October 2008.
AdultTrirachys holosericeus (apple stem borer); adult. Nachane, Maharashtra, India. October 2008.©Vishals_Lab (vishalbhave) - CC BY-NC-SA
Trirachys holosericeus (apple stem borer); mature larva.
TitleLarva
CaptionTrirachys holosericeus (apple stem borer); mature larva.
Copyright©S.M. Gaikwad & N.K. Patil/Department of Zoology, Shivaji University, Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India
Trirachys holosericeus (apple stem borer); mature larva.
LarvaTrirachys holosericeus (apple stem borer); mature larva.©S.M. Gaikwad & N.K. Patil/Department of Zoology, Shivaji University, Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India
Trirachys holosericeus (apple stem borer); pupae.
TitlePupae
CaptionTrirachys holosericeus (apple stem borer); pupae.
Copyright©S.M. Gaikwad & N.K. Patil/Department of Zoology, Shivaji University, Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India
Trirachys holosericeus (apple stem borer); pupae.
PupaeTrirachys holosericeus (apple stem borer); pupae.©S.M. Gaikwad & N.K. Patil/Department of Zoology, Shivaji University, Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Trirachys holosericeus (Fabricius, 1787)

Preferred Common Name

  • apple stem borer

Other Scientific Names

  • Aeolesthes holosericea (Fabricius, 1787)
  • Aeolesthes holosericeus (Fabricius, 1787)
  • Aeolesthes velutina (Thomson, 1865)
  • Cerambyx holosericeus Fabricius, 1787
  • Hammaticherus holosericeus (Fabricius, 1787)
  • Neocerambyx holosericeus (Fabricius, 1787)
  • Pachydissus similis Gahan, 1890
  • Pachydissus velutinus Thomson, 1865

Local Common Names

  • India: apple tree borer; cherry tree borer

Summary of Invasiveness

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Trirachys holosericeus, a highly polyphagous longhorned beetle, is native to southern Asia from Pakistan to the Philippines. It is a stem-boring pest in natural and planted forests and fruit trees. It attacks primarily hardwoods, and at least one conifer. Both healthy and stressed trees are attacked, often leading to crown dieback and possibly tree death after one or more years of infestation. Cut logs can remain attractive to egg-laying adults for nearly a year after felling. T. holosericeus has not become established outside its native range of Asia, but it could be moved inadvertently in live plants, logs, and solid wood packaging. Chemical treatments, including injecting insecticides into active galleries, are often used on live trees, especially fruit trees. In forest stands, heavily infested trees are often cut and destroyed. For recently cut logs, rapid transport to sawmills and quick utilization, or at least debarking, are recommended.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Coleoptera
  •                         Family: Cerambycidae
  •                             Genus: Trirachys
  •                                 Species: Trirachys holosericeus

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The scientific name Trirachys holosericeus was established by Vitali et al. (2017) when transferred from the binomial Aeolesthes holosericea, which was in general usage for over a century since it was proposed by Gahan (1906). Therefore, most scientific papers dealing with this insect refer to Aeolesthes holosericea, as well as most internet resources at the time of writing in 2019.

The genus Trirachys was originally described by Hope (1843) and the genus Aeolesthes by Gahan (1890). The type species selected for Trirachys had an armed prothorax, whereas the prothorax was unarmed in the type species selected for Aeolesthes. In addition, there were differences in the location of spines along the antennal segments between the two type species. Vitali et al. (2017), however, noted wide variation among the species of Trirachys and Aeolesthes in occurrence and placement of spines on the prothorax and antennae, and therefore conducted a major revision that resulted in transferring A. holosericea to Trirachys along with using the original species epithet used when this species was first described by Fabricius (1787) as Cerambyx holosericeus. It is important to note that Gahan (1891) synonymized Cerambyx holosericeus and three other binomials under the name Aeolesthes holosericeus in 1891, but later apparently misspelled the species epithet as holosericea in his later publication (Gahan 1906), which then continued in common usage until the recent revision by Vitali et al. (2017).

Description

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Trirachys holosericeus is a typical longhorned beetle (also called longhorn or longicorn beetles) in which the body is elongate and the antennae are as long as or longer than the beetle's body length, depending on the sex. Detailed descriptions of the adults and other life stages can be found in Stebbing (1914), Beeson (1941) and Duffy (1968). Vitali et al. (2017) provided a key for several genera of Oriental Cerambycini, including Aeolesthes and Trirachys, along with several characters that are possessed by T. holosericeus.

Eggs

Eggs are white, shiny, oval and have a short stalk-like process at one end (Gardner, 1925). Typical egg length and width were reported, respectively, as 2.5 mm and 1.4 mm by Gardner (1925) and 2.2 mm and 0.8-1.2 mm by Gupta and Tara (2013). Drawings and photos of T. holosericeus eggs appear in Gardner (1925), Rahman and Khan (1942), Mamlayya (2011), and Gupta and Tara (2013).

Larva

Detailed descriptions of T. holosericeus larvae are given in Gardner (1925) and Duffy (1968). Larvae are yellowish-white in body colour, cylindrical, with a brown head, black mandibles, and a hard dorsal brown thoracic plate (Stebbing, 1914; Gardner, 1925). Reports on typical length of mature larvae vary from 45 mm (Gardner, 1925) to 75 mm by (Rahman and Khan, 1942). Gupta and Tara (2013) stated that T. holosericeus has seven larval instars, with final instars averaging 60 mm long. Therefore, it is likely that the larvae examined by Gardner (1925) were not final instars. The regions between abdominal segments of larvae are highly constricted, giving the abdomen a corrugated appearance (Stebbing, 1914). Larvae have very short, distinct 4-segmented legs (Gardner, 1925; Rahman and Khan, 1942). Drawings and photos of T. holosericeus larvae appear in Gardner (1925), Rahman and Khan (1942), Mamlayya (2011), Salve (2012) and Gupta and Tara (2013).

Pupa

Pupae are yellowish-white in colour and 30-42 mm in length (Stebbings, 1914; Beeson, 1941; Gardner, 1925; Rahman and Khan, 1942; Gupta and Tara, 2013). The pupae are of the typical exarate type in which appendages are free from the body. Images of T. holosericeus pupae appear in Rahman and Khan (1942) and Gupta and Tara (2013).

Adult

Adults are elongate, parallel sided, dark brown to reddish brown in colour, with patches of grayish to light-brown pubescence on the elytra that give the beetle a silky appearance (Stebbing, 1914; Beeson, 1941; Duffy 1968). Most authors reported that adults are 20-36 mm long (Gahan, 1906; Stebbing, 1914; Duffy 1968; Wang 2017), however, a range of 38-45 mm was given by Gupta and Tara (2013). Females tend to be larger than males (Tara et al., 2009; Gupta and Tara, 2013). The sides of the prothorax are rounded, not armed, and the pronotum is highly wrinkled (rugose) (Stebbing, 1914; Beeson, 1941). Antennae tend to be about 1.5 times the length of the body in males, whereas in females the antennae are about the same length as the body (Beeson, 1941). Drawings and images of T. holosericeus adults appear in several publications, including Stebbing (1914), Rahman and Khan (1942), Duffy (1968), Sengupta and Sengupta (1981), Mamlayya (2011), and Gupta and Tara (2013), Salve (2014), Bhawane et al. (2015), Jiji et al. (2016), Kariyanna (2016), More et al. (2017) and Kariyanna et al. (2018).

Distribution

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Trirachys holosericeus is native to several countries in South Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), East Asia (China and Hong Kong), and Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam). It occurs from sea level into sub-montane valleys of the Himalayas and in both moist and dry forests (Beeson, 1941; Rahman and Khan, 1942).

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.

Last updated: 12 Feb 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Asia

BangladeshPresentNativeGahan (1906)
BhutanPresentNativeSengupta and Sengupta (1981)
ChinaPresentNativeCABI (2020)Present based on regional distribution
-AnhuiPresentNativeLi LiYing et al. (1997)
-FujianPresentNativeLöbl and Smetana (2010); Kariyanna et al. (2018)
-GuangdongPresentNativeLöbl and Smetana (2010); Kariyanna et al. (2018)
-GuangxiPresentNativeLöbl and Smetana (2010); Kariyanna et al. (2018)
-HainanPresentNativeLöbl and Smetana (2010); Khan and Maiti (1983); Li LiYing et al. (1997); Kariyanna et al. (2018)
-HenanPresentNativeLöbl and Smetana (2010); Kariyanna et al. (2018)
-HubeiPresentNativeLi LiYing et al. (1997)
-HunanPresentNativeLi LiYing et al. (1997)
-Inner MongoliaPresentNativeLi LiYing et al. (1997)
-JiangsuPresentNativeLi LiYing et al. (1997)
-ShaanxiPresentNativeLöbl and Smetana (2010); Kariyanna et al. (2018)
-ShanxiPresentNativeLöbl and Smetana (2010); Kariyanna et al. (2018)
-SichuanPresentNativeLi LiYing et al. (1997)
-YunnanPresentNativeLöbl and Smetana (2010); Kariyanna et al. (2018)
-ZhejiangPresentNativeLi LiYing et al. (1997)
Hong KongPresentNativeLöbl and Smetana (2010); Kariyanna et al. (2018)
IndiaPresentNativeCABI (2020)Present based on regional distribution
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentNativeDUFFY (1968); Sengupta and Sengupta (1981); Khan and Maiti (1983)
-Andhra PradeshPresentNativeStebbing (1914); Sengupta and Sengupta (1981); Tara et al. (2009)
-Arunachal PradeshPresentNativeSengupta and Sengupta (1981); Mitra et al. (2017)
-AssamPresentNativeDUFFY (1968); Sengupta and Sengupta (1981); Mitra et al. (2017); Mitra et al. (2017a)
-BiharPresentNativeDUFFY (1968); Sengupta and Sengupta (1981)
-Himachal PradeshPresentNativeTara et al. (2009); Löbl and Smetana (2010); Mitra et al. (2015)
-Jammu and KashmirPresentNativeDUFFY (1968); Sengupta and Sengupta (1981); Tara et al. (2009)
-KarnatakaPresentNativeDUFFY (1968); Sengupta and Sengupta (1981)
-Madhya PradeshPresentNativeSengupta and Sengupta (1981); Tara et al. (2009)
-MaharashtraPresentNativeGahan (1906); DUFFY (1968); Sengupta and Sengupta (1981); Salve (2014); More et al. (2017)
-NagalandPresentNativeMitra et al. (2016); Mitra et al. (2017)
-OdishaPresentNativeDUFFY (1968); Sengupta and Sengupta (1981)
-PunjabPresentNativeDUFFY (1968); Sengupta and Sengupta (1981); Tara et al. (2009)
-RajasthanPresentNativeTara et al. (2009)
-SikkimPresentNativeLöbl and Smetana (2010); Mitra et al. (2017)
-Tamil NaduPresentNativeDUFFY (1968); Sengupta and Sengupta (1981); Tara et al. (2009)
-Uttar PradeshPresentNativeStebbing (1914); DUFFY (1968); Sengupta and Sengupta (1981)
-UttarakhandPresentNativeMukhopadhyay (2011); Tara et al. (2009)
-West BengalPresentNativeDUFFY (1968); Sengupta and Sengupta (1981)
IndonesiaPresentNativeKhan and Maiti (1983); Nga et al. (2014)
LaosPresentNativeKhan and Maiti (1983); Mitra et al. (2016)
MalaysiaPresentNativeDUFFY (1968); Khan and Maiti (1983); Mitra et al. (2016)
-SarawakPresentNativeVitali et al. (2017)
MyanmarPresentNativeGahan (1906); DUFFY (1968); Khan and Maiti (1983)
PakistanPresentNativeSengupta and Sengupta (1981); Löbl and Smetana (2010); Mitra et al. (2016)
PhilippinesPresentNativeDUFFY (1968)
Sri LankaPresentNativeGahan (1906); DUFFY (1968); Khan and Maiti (1983); Makihara et al. (2008); Mitra et al. (2016)
ThailandPresentNativeGahan (1906); Khan and Maiti (1983); Mitra et al. (2016)
VietnamPresentNativeDUFFY (1968); Nga et al. (2014)

History of Introduction and Spread

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There are no documented cases of T. holosericeus becoming established in countries outside its native range as of 2019.

Risk of Introduction

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Even though T. holosericeus has apparently not yet become established outside its native range, it could be moved internationally in large live plants, recently cut logs and milled lumber and solid wood packaging, all of which are known pathways for the inadvertent movement of cerambycids internationally (Haack, 2006; Cocquempot and Lindelöw, 2010; Haack et al., 2010; Eyre and Haack, 2017; Meurisse et al., 2019). Cerambycids are the second most commonly intercepted family of wood-infesting insects in solid wood packaging materials used in international trade (Haack, 2006; Haack et al., 2014). During 1984-2008, there were 3483 interceptions of Cerambycidae associated with wood packaging at ports of entry in the United States (Haack et al., 2014), including two interceptions of unidentified species of Aeolesthes, one from India and one from China. Given its wide host range, ability to infest both living and recently dead trees, and its adaptability to both moist and dry forests, T. holosericeus has the potential to become established in many countries worldwide, especially in the tropics and subtropics. Although T. holosericeus is seldom mentioned by name as a quarantine pest, many countries, such as the United States, take regulatory action against all interceptions of live Cerambycidae in wood packaging (USDA APHIS 2016). In a recent pest risk assessment for exotic forest insects and pathogens that could negatively impact Hawaii’s forest trees (DeNitto et al., 2015), T. holosericeus was evaluated and classified as a potential high-risk pest given that it had a high likelihood of introduction and, if established, would have high negative economic and environmental consequences.

Habitat

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Trirachys holosericeus is primarily a forest pest of both natural and plantation forests, as well as fruit tree orchards. It occurs from sea level, where it has been reported as a pest of mangroves (Tiwari et al., 1980), to sub-montane valleys of the Himalayas (Beeson, 1941). It occurs in both moist and dry forests (Beeson, 1941), and has been collected up to elevations of about 2500 m in the Punjab region of India (Rahman and Khan 1942). Little information was found on its pest status in urban areas; however, given its wide host range and ability to infest live trees it would seem that T. holosericeus has the potential to be an urban pest as well as a forest pest.

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchards Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Principal habitat Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Principal habitat Natural
Littoral
Mangroves Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Mangroves Principal habitat Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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At least 68 species of trees have been reported as larval hosts for T. holosericeus (Stebbing, 1914; Beeson, 1919; 1941; Rahman and Khan, 1942; Duffy, 1968; Tiwari et al., 1980; Ahmed et al., 2004; Mamlayya et al., 2009; Prakash et al., 2010; Bhawane and Mamlayya, 2013; Gupta and Tara, 2013; Mitra, 2013; Salve, 2012; 2014; Bhawane et al., 2015; Kariyanna et al., 2017; Sundararaj et al., 2019). All of these host trees are broadleaf trees (dicots) except one conifer, Pinus roxburghii (Beeson, 1919), which should be reconfirmed. Many of these host trees are important commercially for products such as timber, fruit, fibre and chemical extractives, as well as ornamentals. In addition, several of these trees (e.g., species of Morus, Shorea and Terminalia) are also important as the food plants for various silk moth larvae used in silk production.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Acacia chundraFabaceaeWild host
Acacia nilotica (gum arabic tree)FabaceaeWild host
Aegle marmelos (golden apple)RutaceaeWild host
Albizia lebbeck (Indian siris)FabaceaeWild host
Albizia procera (white siris)FabaceaeWild host
Albizia saman (rain tree)FabaceaeWild host
Alnus nitida (West Himalayan alder)BetulaceaeWild host
Anogeissus latifolia (axle-wood tree)CombretaceaeWild host
Artocarpus hirsutus (wild jack fruit)MoraceaeWild host
Azadirachta indica (neem tree)MeliaceaeWild host
Bauhinia acuminataFabaceaeWild host
Bauhinia semla (semla)FabaceaeWild host
Bauhinia variegata (mountain ebony)FabaceaeWild host
Bombax ceiba (silk cotton tree)BombacaceaeWild host
Bombax valetoniiBombacaceaeUnknown
Bridelia retusaEuphorbiaceaeWild host
Butea monosperma (flame of the forest)FabaceaeWild host
Careya arborea (tummy wood)LecythidaceaeWild host
Chloroxylon swietenia (satinwood)RutaceaeWild host
Cynometra ramifloraFabaceaeWild host
Desmodium oojeinenseFabaceaeWild host
DipterocarpusDipterocarpaceaeWild host
Dracontomelon dao (Argus pheasant tree)AnacardiaceaeWild host
Duabanga grandifloraSonneratiaceaeWild host
Eucalyptus robusta (swamp mahogany)MyrtaceaeWild host
Excoecaria agallochaEuphorbiaceaeWild host
Ficus benghalensis (banyan)MoraceaeWild host
Grewia optivaTiliaceaeWild host
Hardwickia binataFabaceaeWild host
Juglans regia (walnut)JuglandaceaeWild host
Kydia calycina (Kydia)MalvaceaeWild host
Lagerstroemia parvifloraLythraceaeWild host
Lannea coromandelicaAnacardiaceaeWild host
Mallotus philippensis (kamala tree)EuphorbiaceaeWild host
Malus baccata (siberian crab apple)RosaceaeWild host
Malus domestica (apple)RosaceaeMain
Mangifera indica (mango)AnacardiaceaeMain
Miliusa velutinaAnnonaceaeWild host
Morus alba (mora)MoraceaeWild host
Myristica andamanicaMyristicaceaeWild host
Pinus roxburghii (chir pine)PinaceaeWild host
Prosopis cineraria (screw-bean)FabaceaeWild host
Prunus armeniaca (apricot)RosaceaeMain
Prunus avium (sweet cherry)RosaceaeMain
Prunus domestica (plum)RosaceaeMain
Prunus dulcis (almond)RosaceaeMain
Prunus persica (peach)RosaceaeMain
Psidium guajava (guava)MyrtaceaeWild host
Pterocarpus marsupium (andaman redwood)FabaceaeWild host
Pterospermum acerifoliumWild host
Pyrus communis (European pear)RosaceaeMain
Quercus incanaWild host
Rhizophora apiculata (true mangrove)RhizophoraceaeWild host
Santalum album (Indian sandalwood)SantalaceaeWild host
Shorea robusta (sal)DipterocarpaceaeWild host
Soymida febrifugaMeliaceaeWild host
Tamarix aphylla (athel)TamaricaceaeWild host
Tectona grandis (teak)LamiaceaeWild host
Terminalia arjuna (arjun)CombretaceaeWild host
Terminalia bellirica (beleric myrobalan)CombretaceaeWild host
Terminalia catappa (Singapore almond)CombretaceaeWild host
Terminalia elliptica (laurel)CombretaceaeWild host
Terminalia myriocarpaCombretaceaeWild host
Toona ciliata (toon)MeliaceaeWild host
Triadica sebifera (Chinese tallow tree)EuphorbiaceaeWild host

Symptoms

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Signs of T. holosericeus infestation include zig-zag irregular galleries, often with broadened areas, constructed on the sapwood surface by early larval instars and also galleries that enter deep into the sapwood and heartwood that are constructed by late larval instars. The pupal chamber is formed at the end of the larval gallery and is usually parallel to the axis of the tree trunk or branch. Frass is ejected from the galleries through small holes in the bark as the larvae tunnel. In heavily infested trees, frass can accumulate at the base of the tree. Upon emergence from the trees, adults chew oval exit holes through the bark, with those produced by males being 0.6-0.9 cm wide and those made by females being 0.8-1.1 cm wide (Sinha et al., 2011). Given that borer infestation can occur over multiple years until the host tree dies, the typical symptoms include wilted foliage followed by crown dieback and eventual tree death.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Leaves / wilting
Stems / dieback
Stems / gummosis or resinosis
Stems / ooze
Stems / visible frass
Whole plant / frass visible
Whole plant / internal feeding
Whole plant / plant dead; dieback
Whole plant / wilt

Biology and Ecology

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Physiology and Phenology​

The most detailed studies on the life history of T. holosericeus have been conducted in India, and therefore most of the data reported here is based on those studies. Timing of events in the life cycle of T. holosericeus vary widely given that the geographic range of this beetle extends from near the equator to about 30°N latitude, and from sea level to about 2500 m elevation. For example, Khan (1989) reported adult emergence during February and March in central India (Madhya Pradesh), whereas Stebbing (1914) reported emergence primarily in June and July in northern India (Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand). Also in northern India (Jammu Province), Gupta and Tara (2013) stated that adults are active during April to June. And finally, although no details on where the observations were made, adults were reported to emerge from March to May by Beeson (1941) and April to July by Rahman and Khan (1942).

Reports on the time required for T. holosericeus to complete a single generation vary widely, which is to be expected given its broad latitudinal range and ability to infest live trees and cut logs. The shortest generation times reported of only 8-15 months were for the Andaman Islands, which are located at 10° to 14°N latitude (Khan and Maiti, 1983). Others, working in central and northern India, have reported generation times of 1 year (Khan, 1989), 1-2 years (Beeson, 1941), 2 years (Wang, 2017), and 2-3 years (Rahman and Khan, 1942).

Reproductive Biology

Mating takes place on the host tree (Stebbing, 1914). Tara et al. (2009) reported that mating starts within 2-3 days of emergence. By contrast, Sinha et al. (2011) stated that males start to mate within 2 days post-emergence, compared with 6-8 days for females. No pheromones have been reported for T. holosericeus; however, known pheromones for all other Cerambycinae have all been male-produced aggregation pheromones (Millar and Hanks, 2017). T. holosericeus females usually chew a small slit in the outer bark, often in bark cracks and crevices, and then deposit one or more eggs into the slit (Rahman and Khan, 1942; Sinha et al., 2011; Gupta and Tara, 2013). The number of eggs laid at a single site was reported as 1-5 eggs by Gupta and Tara (2013), 2-4 by Wang (2017), and 4-8 by Rahman and Khan (1942). Sinha et al. (2011) reported that females appeared to seal the bark slit afterwards by rubbing their ovipositor over the slit for 3-5 minutes. Under laboratory conditions, Gupta and Tara (2013) reported that T. holosericeus lifetime fecundity averaged 63 eggs per female with a range of 45-83. However, Rahman and Khan (1942) stated that one female laid 92 eggs in her lifetime, while others reported that some females can lay 200-300 eggs each (Beeson, 1941; Khan, 1989; Wang, 2017). 

Gupta and Tara (2013) stated that eggs hatched in 9-12 days, with an average incubation period of 11 days. By contrast, egg hatch was reported to occur in 2-3 days by Khan (1989), 7-12 days by Rahman and Khan (1942), and 18-20 days by Sinha et al. (2011).

Based on head capsule widths, Gupta and Tara (2013) estimated that T. holosericeus has seven larval instars. After hatching, first instar larvae tunnel directly through the bark and feed in the cambial region at the interface of the bark and wood, with later instars entering the sapwood and heartwood (Gupta and Tara, 2013). The larval galleries in the cambial region form a zig-zag pattern and at various locations broaden out into wide cavities that score deeply into both the bark and outer sapwood (Stebbing, 1914; Beeson, 1941). Stebbing (1914) stated that the portion of the larval gallery constructed on the sapwood surface is about 30 cm long and that the cavities are about 7.5 cm wide. Larvae usually chew 2-4 holes through the bark at various locations during their tunneling and use these holes to eject some of their frass and wood shavings (Stebbing, 1914; Beeson, 1941; Gupta and Tara, 2013). At times various tree exudates also drip from these frass-ejection holes (Rahman and Khan, 1942; Gupta and Tara, 2013). Gupta and Sharma (2015) noted active expulsion of frass from infested trees from April through November, peaking during August to October. When larvae are about two-thirds developed they tunnel somewhat horizontally (to the tree’s axis) into the sapwood and possibly heartwood for a distance of 6-7.5 cm and then tunnel downward, parallel to the tree’s axis, for about the same distance to form the eventual pupal chamber (Stebbing, 1914; Beeson, 1941). Prior to pupation, the larva returns to the near the bark surface and chews an area that will be used by the eventual adult as their exit hole. The larva then returns to the end of the gallery where it seals itself inside by capping the entrance to the pupal chamber with wood shavings and a calcium carbonate substance regurgitated by the larva to form an operculum (Stebbing, 1914; Beeson, 1941; Haack et al., 2017).

Pupation typically occurs in autumn or spring, and lasts 1-3 months depending on local conditions (Rahman and Khan, 1942; Duffy, 1968). For example, Beeson (1941) stated that pupation usually occurs in October and lasts only 3 weeks, whereas Gupta and Tara (2013) reported pupation usually starts in September or October and lasts about 8 weeks. Under ambient conditions indoors, Sinha et al. (2011) reported a 34-45 day pupation period. When pupation occurs in autumn the new adults remain in the pupal chambers until the following spring and then emerge from the tree.

Longevity

Under laboratory conditions, adult longevity averaged 16 days for females and 33 days for males (Gupta and Tara, 2013).

Activity Patterns

Adults are mostly nocturnal and usually remain still in bark crevices or on the shady side of logs during the day (Beeson, 1941; Rahman and Khan, 1942). Adults feed on the bark of young twigs (Tara et al., 2009; Sinha et al., 2011; Gupta and Tara, 2013), but not on foliage (Rahman and Khan, 1942).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
A - Tropical/Megathermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually
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]))
B - Dry (arid and semi-arid) Preferred < 860mm precipitation annually
BS - Steppe climate Preferred > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
D - Continental/Microthermal climate Preferred Continental/Microthermal climate (Average temp. of coldest month < 0°C, mean warmest month > 10°C)
Ds - Continental climate with dry summer Preferred Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)
Dw - Continental climate with dry winter Preferred Continental climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry winters)

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Euurobracon triplagiata Parasite Larvae not specific
Iphiaulax immsi Parasite Larvae not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Few reports on the natural enemies of T. holosericeus have been published. For example, an unidentified species of ichneumonid wasp was reported as being reared from T. holosericeus (Stebbing, 1914), and similarly the braconid wasps Euurobracon maculipennis [Euurobracon triplagiata] (Chatterjee and Misra, 1974; Haider, 2002) and Iphiaulax immsi (Beeson, 1941; Chatterjee and Misra, 1974).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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The dispersal capability of T. holosericeus adults has not been reported. However, for other cerambycid species that have been carefully studied, season-long natural dispersal has often exceeded 1 km (Haack et al. 2017). The most likely method for long-distance spread of T. holosericeus would be through accidental introduction of infested products (live plants, logs and lumber) and solid wood packaging such as dunnage, crating and pallets. Although the author of this datasheet is not aware of any published interception records of T. holosericeus, there were two interceptions of unidentified species of Aeolesthes (the genus to which T. holosericeus was assigned until 2018) in the dataset used by Haack et al. (2014), which included 3483 cerambycid interception records made at US ports-of-entry during 1984-2008. One of these interceptions was from India and the other was from China, which are both countries within the natural range of T. holosericeus.

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Containers and packaging - woodInfrequently found as larvae in wood packaging Yes Yes Haack et al., 2014; unpublished database
Plants or parts of plantsAll life stage, but mostly larva, pupa, and new adults Yes Yes Beeson, 1941

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches adults; eggs; larvae; pupae Yes Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Wood adults; larvae; pupae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye

Wood Packaging

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Wood Packaging liable to carry the pest in trade/transportTimber typeUsed as packing
Solid wood packing material with bark Primarily hardwoods Yes
Solid wood packing material without bark Primarily hardwoods Yes

Impact Summary

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

Economic Impact

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Trirachys holosericeus is a major pest of both forest and orchard trees throughout South, East, and Southeast Asia, and especially in India given the large number of published scientific papers from that country. T. holosericeus has an extremely wide host range, almost exclusively hardwood species, and can infest apparently healthy trees as well as stressed trees and recently cut logs. Tree mortality can occur in a single season, but usually several successive years of infestation are required before trees are killed.

In logging operations and at sawmills, Stebbing (1914) stated that 20-60% of stored logs could be infested by T. holosericeus, and similarly Khan (1989) stated that 40-60% of stored logs could be infested. The quality of lumber cut from infested logs is greatly reduced because of the large galleries that reach deep into the heartwood of the tree (Stebbing, 1914; Beeson, 1941; Khan and Maiti, 1983). In apple orchards, Gupta and Tara (2014) and Gupta and Sharma (2015) reported infestation levels could reach as high as 40% of all trees in an orchard. Gupta and Tara (2013) noted that larval densities can be as high as 65-70 larvae in a single branch of an apple tree. In plantations of Terminalia arjuna trees, where foliage is collected to feed to silkworms (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae) used to produce tasar silk, Prakash et al. (2010) reported infestation levels of individual trees as high as 59%. Similarly, Singh et al. (1987) reported infestation rates as high as 24% for Terminalia arjuna trees and 39% for Terminalia tomentosa [Terminalia elliptica] trees growing in plantations maintained for tasar silk production. Besides T. holosericeus, there are many other insect borers that attack trees used in tasar culture, including the buprestid beetle Sphenoptera cupriventris [Sphenoptera barbarica] and the cossid moth Indarbela quadrinotata (Reddy et al., 1996; Tirkey et al., 2019).

Environmental Impact

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Given the broad host range of T. holosericeus and its ability to infest apparently healthy trees, stressed trees, and recently cut logs, it is likely that this beetle could cause great environmental damage wherever it becomes established. For these reasons and others, DeNitto et al. (2015) classified T. holosericeus as a high-risk pest to the forests of Hawai’i, and especially to the Hawaiian endemic tree species Acacia koa.

Social Impact

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Given the large numbers of people involved in tasar silk production, especially in rural areas of India (Singh et al., 1985; Gangopadhyay, 2010; Reddy, 2010), outbreaks of T. holosericeus can greatly impact local economies by weakening or killing the trees used to supply foliage to the silkworm caterpillars. Similarly, outbreaks of T. holosericeus in areas of high fruit production can reduce yields in the affected orchards and thereby impact farm economies.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
Impact outcomes
  • Host damage
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts forestry
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
  • Damages animal/plant products
Impact mechanisms
  • Herbivory/grazing/browsing
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field
  • Difficult/costly to control

Detection and Inspection

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The most obvious signs of active T. holosericeus infestation on standing trees would be detection of frass being expelled from infested branch and trunk sections or piled at the base of the tree. Frass would also be obvious on cut logs that are currently infested. The characteristic larval galleries of T. holosericeus would be present under the bark where frass has been expelled from the tree. Note that frass is generally not expelled during the colder winter months and at times it can be washed away by heavy rains. In addition, various life stages of T. holosericeus would be present within the galleries if the infestation is active. If all individuals have become adults and exited the tree, then exit holes made by the adults and empty larval galleries would be present. Although no pheromone has yet been identified for T. holosericeus, detection surveys using traps baited with multiple known pheromones of other Cerambycinae could be tested in the field now (Millar and Hanks, 2017), and improved upon once the actual pheromone of T. holosericeus is discovered. In a recent trapping study in Italy, for example, Rassati et al. (2019) showed that more Cerambycinae species were collected in purple multiple-funnel traps (vs. green), baited with multiple cerambycid pheromones (vs. ethanol alone), and suspended in the canopy of trees (vs. in the understory).

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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There are many similarities between adults of T. holosericeus and adults of other species of the genera Trirachys and Aeolesthes. The keys and characters given in Vitali et al. (2017) will be helpful in distinguishing among the species, but confirmation by experts would be recommended. As for the larvae, Duffy (1968) reports that T. holosericeus larvae are very similar to those of the Cerambycinae species Hoplocerambyx spinicornis in general shape and size as well as gallery pattern. In addition, these two cerambycids have broadly similar geographic ranges and many host trees in common, such as species of Duabanga, Pentacme, and Shorea, and therefore both species can be found in the same tree or log. Although the larvae of these two species are similar, Gardner (1925) and Duffy (1968) point out several differences, and Gardner (1925) also provides a key to the larvae of the common Cerambycinae in India.

DNA barcoding could be used to positively identify T. holosericeus at all life stages, especially larvae and pupae, encountered in trees or traded products such as nursery stock, logs, lumber, and wood packaging. Wu et al. (2017) showed the value of this DNA technique for several buprestid and cerambycid borers collected from solid wood packaging. Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) is a public online reference library of DNA barcode data for tens of thousands of plant and animal species worldwide (BOLDS, 2019). As of 2019, DNA barcode data are available in BOLDS for T. holosericeus (currently listed as Aeolesthes holosericea), as well as three other species of Aeolesthes, Hoplocerambyx spinicornis, and nearly 2000 other cerambycid species.

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Chemical Control

For logs that cannot be debarked or milled quickly, various insecticides can be applied to the bark surface of logs while in storage (Khan, 1989). For infested live trees, such as fruit trees, several insecticides have shown good results when applied by inserting insecticide-soaked cotton plugs into the galleries and sealing the area with mud (Sharma and Attri, 1969; Mandal et al., 1989; Gupta and Tara, 2014). Similar techniques have shown good control of the related cerambycid Aeolesthes sarta (Gaffar and Bhat, 1991).

Cultural control and sanitary measures

For forestry situations, logging during the colder months when T. holosericeus adults are not active and promptly moving and milling the logs would reduce opportunities for infestation. Alternatively, debarking logs in the field or when in storage would prevent oviposition. Debarking should be done before adult emergence begins in spring, such as by March or April, to avoid oviposition (Stebbing, 1914; Beeson, 1941; Khan, 1989). Stand sanitation after logging, such as chipping or burning of larger branches, would eliminate some breeding sites. Currently infested trees could also be targeted for cutting and burning during logging operations to lower beetle populations (Stebbing, 1914; Beeson 1941). Khan (1989) found that logs stored in full sunlight had lower infestation rates compared with logs held in shady areas.

Physical/mechanical control

In the insecticide study reported above by Gupta and Tara (2014), simply sealing the galleries with mud resulted in 10-11% larval mortality. In many countries, simply inserting a flexible wire into the larval gallery and attempting to injure the feeding larvae has shown good efficacy in controlling many cerambycid species (Rahman and Khan, 1942; Duffy, 1968; Wang, 2017).

Biological control

No reports were found on efforts to control T. holosericeus with natural enemies.

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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At time of writing in 2019, no information was found on T. holosericeus pheromones or long-distance dispersal, either as a single flight event or season-long spread. Similarly, no information was found on the minimum diameter of tree trunks or branches that are suitable for T. holosericeus oviposition. No detailed information was found on the pest status of T. holosericeus in urban areas or on ornamentals. For trees from which foliage is collected for tasar silk production, there was no information found on how the seasonality or degree of defoliation affects subsequent tree susceptibility to T. holosericeus infestation. Lastly, the early reports that the conifer Pinus roxburghii is a larval host of T. holosericeus should be confirmed.

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Vitali F, Gouverneur X, Chemin G, 2017. Revision of the tribe Cerambycini: redefinition of the genera Trirachys Hope, 1843, Aeolesthes Gahan, 1890 and Pseudaeolesthes Plavilstshikov, 1931 (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Les Cahiers Magellanes. 40-65.

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25/08/19 Original text by:

Robert A. Haack, Emeritus Research Entomologist, USDA Forest Service, Lansing, Michigan, USA

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