Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Aeolesthes sarta
(city longhorn beetle)



Aeolesthes sarta (city longhorn beetle)


  • Last modified
  • 19 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Aeolesthes sarta
  • Preferred Common Name
  • city longhorn beetle
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • A. sarta is a polyphagous longhorn beetle and is one of the most important pests of forest, ornamental and deciduous fruit trees in Central Asia. It attacks both stressed and healthy trees of different ages and...

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A. sarta, adult beetle.
CaptionA. sarta, adult beetle.
CopyrightMichal Hoskovec
A. sarta, adult beetle.
AdultA. sarta, adult beetle.Michal Hoskovec


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Aeolesthes sarta (Solsky, 1871)

Preferred Common Name

  • city longhorn beetle

International Common Names

  • English: Sart longhorn beetle; town longhorn beetle; Uzbek longhorn beetle

EPPO code

  • AELSSA (Aeolesthes sarta)

Summary of Invasiveness

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A. sarta is a polyphagous longhorn beetle and is one of the most important pests of forest, ornamental and deciduous fruit trees in Central Asia. It attacks both stressed and healthy trees of different ages and can eventually kill the tree. It is thought to originate from Pakistan and western India, and is now found in much of central Asia and its range is expanding. Control methods used include phytosanitary measures such as surveying nurseries, burning infested plant material, and cutting and burning infested trees.

Taxonomic Tree

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


Top of page Eggs

The eggs are white, about 3-4 mm long.


The larvae are pale yellowish, covered with golden hairs, about 60-70 mm long, with black mandibles. They are like Cerambyx larvae, but more flat and without sharp constrictions between the abdominal segments (Plavilshtikov, 1940).


The adult has an elongated, dark grey-brown body, 28-47 mm long, with elytra covered with short silvery hairs. Shiny, silvery spots form two irregular bands crossing the elytra. The male is usually smaller than the female. The male has antennae 2.5 times as long as the body, whereas the female antennae are shorter than the body.


Top of page A. sarta is thought to originate from the region of Pakistan and western India and to have spread westwards to Afghanistan and Iran and northwards to the Central Asian countries of the former USSR, where it was first found in 1911 (in Samarkand). In southern regions it is found in Belujistan and the western Himalayas (Plavilshtikov, 1940). The distribution area of the pest continues to increase in the countries where it is found (Orlinskii et al., 1991). A. sarta is found in mountain areas up to an altitude of 2000 m.

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: 23 Apr 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes


AfghanistanPresentEPPO (2020)
IndiaPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
-Arunachal PradeshPresentEPPO (2020)
-Himachal PradeshPresentEPPO (2020)
-Jammu and KashmirPresentGaffar and Bhat (1991); EPPO (2020)
IranPresentEPPO (2020)
KyrgyzstanPresentEPPO (2020)
PakistanPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
TajikistanPresentEPPO (2020)
TurkmenistanPresentEPPO (2020)
UzbekistanPresentKimsanboev et al. (2002); EPPO (2020)


Union of Soviet Socialist RepublicsPresentCABI (Undated)

Risk of Introduction

Top of page A. sarta is not a quarantine pest for any individual country (as far as is known) or any regional plant protection organization. It is considered as a very serious forest pest in countries where it occurs. Because of the hot and dry climatic conditions in its countries of origin and present distribution, it is most likely to establish in Mediterranean countries of the EPPO region where its host plants are important forest, fruit and ornamental trees.

Phytosanitary measures should cover the import of host plants of A. sarta, their wood and cut branches from infested areas.

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page A. sarta is polyphagous in deciduous trees and may cause damage on many species of Ulmus, Populus, Salix, Platanus, Malus, Prunus, Pyrus, Juglans, Quercus, Betula, Fraxinus, Acer, Morus, Gleditsia, Robinia, Elaeagnus and many other hardwoods and fruit trees. Its preferred hosts are: Ulmus minor, Ulmus pumila, Populus euphratica, Populus talassica, Populus alba, Populus x euroamericana, Salix acmophylla, Salix turanica, Salix aongarica, Platanus orientalis, Platanus acerifolia, Malus pumila and Juglans regia.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Acer (maples)AceraceaeOther
Alnus subcordataBetulaceaeOther
Betula (birches)BetulaceaeOther
Fraxinus (ashes)OleaceaeOther
Juglans regia (walnut)JuglandaceaeMain
Malus domestica (apple)RosaceaeMain
Morus (mulberrytree)MoraceaeOther
Morus alba (mora)MoraceaeOther
Platanus acerifolia (London planetree)PlatanaceaeMain
Platanus orientalis (plane)PlatanaceaeMain
Populus (poplars)SalicaceaeMain
Populus alba (silver-leaf poplar)SalicaceaeMain
Populus alba var. pyramidalis (Boll's poplar)SalicaceaeMain
Populus euphratica (Euphrates poplar)SalicaceaeMain
Populus talassicaSalicaceaeMain
Populus x euramericanaSalicaceaeMain
Prunus (stone fruit)RosaceaeOther
Prunus (stone fruit)RosaceaeOther
Prunus armeniaca (apricot)RosaceaeOther
Pyrus (pears)RosaceaeOther
Quercus (oaks)FagaceaeOther
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)FabaceaeOther
Salix (willows)SalicaceaeMain
Salix acmophyllaSalicaceaeMain
Ulmus densaUlmaceaeMain
Ulmus minor (European field elm)UlmaceaeMain
Ulmus pumila (dwarf elm)UlmaceaeMain
Ulmus pumila var. arboreaUlmaceaeMain

Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Post-harvest, Vegetative growing stage


Top of page The large emergence holes of A. sarta may be seen on the trunks and branches of affected trees, and borings may be found at the base of these trees. Beetles may also be found sitting on the trunk of the tree. Wilting or dried leaves are symptoms of branch and tree dieback.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Stems / internal feeding
Whole plant / internal feeding

Biology and Ecology

Top of page The adults emerge from April to mid-July. Shortly after leaving the pupation cells, the females lay eggs into cracks in the bark of trunks and large branches, and sometimes into old larval galleries. Between 1 and 3 eggs are laid at each site. Each female lays about 270 eggs. Egg development lasts 9-17 days. At first, the larva gnaws out a gallery in the bark without touching the cambium, but older larvae gnaw the alburnum so that the bark becomes quite thick in some places. This may result in the formation of bark holes, through which boring dust spills out. The larvae can reach 50-60 mm long by the end of the summer. The larvae penetrate into the wood, mainly in the apical part of the galleries, in the following spring or sometimes from the autumn. The wood gallery is oriented upwards at first, then turns downwards like a bow. The larva gnaws a chamber at the end of the bow-shaped gallery, the entrance to which is blocked with a plug composed of borings. Pupation takes place in June to August. Adult emergence occurs in July-September, but the adults do not leave the chambers until the following spring. The life cycle of A. sarta, therefore, takes 2 years (Pavlovskii and Shtakelberg, 1955; Ahmad et al., 1977; Maslov, 1988; Orlinskii et al., 1991; Vorontsov, 1995).

The imago is found everywhere that its host occurs (tree groves, town boulevards, and small gardens or railway stations with 1-2 trees). A. sarta causes a great deal of damage and can often destroy trees. The most visible damage is in town boulevards, railway stations and other places where trees can be entirely invaded by the larvae (Plavilshtikov, 1940; Vorontsov, 1975).

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Beauveria bassiana Pathogen Adults
Sclerodermus turkmenicus Parasite Larvae

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page Although A. sarta attacks a number of fruit tree species, it is unlikely to be transported in planting material as it does not attack the small branches, trunks or root stocks which constitute planting material. Adults may, however, be found resting on the surface of such material. At present, there is little trade in the wood of the host plants of A. sarta so the main phytosanitary risk comes from untreated dunnage and packing material.

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 Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Wood adults; eggs; 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 Yes

Impact Summary

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Animal/plant collections None
Animal/plant products None
Biodiversity (generally) None
Crop production None
Environment (generally) None
Fisheries / aquaculture None
Forestry production Negative
Human health None
Livestock production None
Native fauna None
Native flora None
Rare/protected species None
Tourism None
Trade/international relations None
Transport/travel None


Top of page A. sarta is one of the most important pests of forest, ornamental and deciduous fruit trees in Central Asia (Yagdyev, 1975, 1979, 1987; Yagdyev and Tashlieva, 1976; Ahmad et al., 1977; Sengupta and Sengupta, 1981; Krivosheina and Tokgaev, 1985; Maslov, 1988; Khudaibergenov and Khodzhaev, 1992; Vorontsov, 1995). It attacks both stressed and healthy trees of different ages. A number of generations can remain on the same tree for several consecutive years, eventually causing its death. Sometimes, young larvae encircle a tree feeding on the cambium, which leads to the rapid death of the tree. Young trees with a thin bark are most susceptible to the beetle and the presence of one to three larvae per tree may be enough to kill it.

It frequently occurs in avenues or parks in urbanized areas and has caused major damage to city plantations; for example, there are no more large trees in Tashauz city, Turkmenistan, because of A. sarta (Orlinskii et al., 1991). Serious damage is also observed in shelterbelts and in fruit (especially apple) orchards (Krivosheina, 1984; Vorontsov, 1995).

A. sarta has killed large areas of mountain forests (Pavlovskii et al., 1955; Krivosheina, 1984; Orlinskii et al., 1991; Maslov, 1988; Vorontsov, 1995).

Environmental Impact

Top of page Because it is a tree-killer, A. sarta is able to alter ecological relationships where its hardwood hosts are important component of ecosystems. The main environmental impact is caused in cities and towns in countries of Central Asia (Yagdyev, 1987; Orlinskii et al., 1991; Vorontsov, 1995). Usually, these cities are in hot and dry climatic regions, where large deciduous trees have a special environmental importance and are difficult to grow.

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.

Major efforts to control A. sarta are underway in areas affected by the pest. The control methods used include phytosanitary measures such as surveying nurseries, burning infested plant material, and cutting and burning infested trees. Trees can also be treated with chemical and biological insecticides, and more resistant species and varieties may be planted to combat the pest.


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Ahmad MI; Hafiz IA; Chaudhry MI, 1977. Biological studies on Aeolesthes sarta Solsky attacking poplars in Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Forestry, 27(3):122-129.

Arshad M; Hafiz IA, 1983. Microbial trials of a pathogenic fungus, Beauveria bassiana (Bals.) Vuill. against the adults of polesthes sarta Solsky (Cerambycidae: Coleoptera). Pakistan Journal of Zoology, 15(2):213-215

Beeson CFC, 1941. The ecology and control of the forest insects of India and the neighbouring countries. Published by the author and printed at the Vasant Press, Dehra Dun, India. pp. ii + 1007.

Duffy EAJ, 1968. A monograph of the immature stages of Oriental timber beetles (Cerambycidae). London, UK: British Museum (Natural History).

EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization.

Gaffar SA; Bhat AA, 1991. Management of stem borer, Aeolesthes sarta (Solsky), infesting walnut trees in Kashmir. Indian Journal of Forestry, 14(2):138-141

Hanif Gul; Chaudhry MI, 1992. Some observations on natural enemies of poplar borers in Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Forestry, 42(4):214-222; 16 ref.

Khudaibergenov M; Khodzhaev Sh, 1992. Against elm pests. Zashchita Rastenii, 5:39 (in Russian).

Kimsanboev KhKh; esanboev She; Nurmukhamedov DN, 2002. Urban long-horned beetle. Zashchita i Karantin Rastenii^breve~, No.12:38.

Krivosheina NP, 1984. Role of the cerambycid Aeolesthes sarta in fruit orchards in Turkmenia. Biologicheskie Nauki, 8:35-39.

Krivosheina NP; Tokgaev TB, 1985. The formation of complexes of trunk insects on irrigated lands in the foothills of the Kopet-dag. Izvestiya Akademii Nauk Turkmenskoi SSR, Biologicheskikh Nauk, 5:34-39.

Mamaev BM; Yagdyev A, 1981. Characteristics of development of the Turkmenian hymenopteran (Scleroderma turcmenica Mam. et Krav.) on larvae of the cerambycid Aeolesthes sarta in experimental conditions. Izvestiya Akademii Nauk Turkmenskoi SSR, Biologicheskie Nauki, 1:88 (in Russian).

Maslov AD, 1988. Guide on Forest Protection against Pests and Diseases. Moscow, "Agropromizdat" (in Russian).

Orlinskii AD; Shakhramanov IK; Mukhanov SYu; Maslyakov VYu, 1991. Potential quarantine forest pests in the USSR. Zashchita Rastenii, No. 11:37-41

Pavlovskii EN; Shtakelberg AA, et al. , 1955. Forest pests. Guide. Moscow - Leningrad, Edition of Academy of sciences of the USSR, V(2):422-1097 (in Russian).

Plavilshtikov NM, 1940. Zhuki-drovoseki, Nasekomye zhestkokrylye. Moscow-Leningrad // Fauna SSSR, AN SSSR, t. 22(2) (in Russian).

Romanenko KE, 1981. Pests of field protecting forest plantations in Kirgizia. Frunze, "Ilim" (in Russian).

Sengupta CK; Sengupta T, 1981. Cerambycidae (Coleoptera) of Arunachal Pradesh. Records of the Zoological Survey of India, 78(1/4):133-154

Vorontsov AI, 1995. Forest Entomology. Manual for Universities. Moscow, Ecologia (in Russian).

Yagdyev A, 1975. Trunk pests of turanga in Turkmenia. Izvestiya Akademii Nauk Turkmenskoi SSR, Biologicheskikh Nauk, No. 6:60-64

Yagdyev A, 1979. A review of the xylophagous insects of the forests of the Central Kopetdag. Entomologicheskoe Obozrenie, 58(4):776-780

Yagdyev A, 1987. Pests of ornamental plants in towns of Turkmenistan. Izvestiya Akademii Nauk Turkmenskoi SSR, Biologicheskikh Nauk, No. 1:47-50

Yagdyev A; Tashlieva AO, 1976. Beetle pests of walnut and oleaster in Turkmenia. In: Ekologicheskoe i khozyaistvennoe znachenie nasekomykh Turkmenii, Ashghabad, "Ilim", 83-92 (in Russian).

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