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Datasheet

Paysandisia archon (South American palm borer)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 14 July 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Paysandisia archon
  • Preferred Common Name
  • South American palm borer
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • P. archon is a Neotropical castniid species. It is not considered a pest in most of its native range, probably because it lives mainly on wild palm trees and not on crops; however,

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Paysandisia archon; a single egg on leaf
TitleEgg
CaptionPaysandisia archon; a single egg on leaf
Copyright©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; a single egg on leaf
EggPaysandisia archon; a single egg on leaf©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; 1st instar larva immediately after hatching.
Title1st instar larva
CaptionPaysandisia archon; 1st instar larva immediately after hatching.
Copyright©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; 1st instar larva immediately after hatching.
1st instar larvaPaysandisia archon; 1st instar larva immediately after hatching.©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; larvae in various instars.
TitleLarvae
CaptionPaysandisia archon; larvae in various instars.
Copyright©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; larvae in various instars.
LarvaePaysandisia archon; larvae in various instars.©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; larval cocoon opened to show the pupa.
TitlePupa
CaptionPaysandisia archon; larval cocoon opened to show the pupa.
Copyright©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; larval cocoon opened to show the pupa.
PupaPaysandisia archon; larval cocoon opened to show the pupa.©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; adult male.
TitleAdult
CaptionPaysandisia archon; adult male.
Copyright©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; adult male.
AdultPaysandisia archon; adult male.©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; adult male (a) and female (b) during courtship behaviour.
TitleAdults
CaptionPaysandisia archon; adult male (a) and female (b) during courtship behaviour.
Copyright©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; adult male (a) and female (b) during courtship behaviour.
AdultsPaysandisia archon; adult male (a) and female (b) during courtship behaviour.©Paola Riolo
Mature specimens of Trachycharpus fortunei which have died as a result of a severe Paysandisia archon larval attack.
TitleDamage symptoms
CaptionMature specimens of Trachycharpus fortunei which have died as a result of a severe Paysandisia archon larval attack.
Copyright©Paola Riolo
Mature specimens of Trachycharpus fortunei which have died as a result of a severe Paysandisia archon larval attack.
Damage symptomsMature specimens of Trachycharpus fortunei which have died as a result of a severe Paysandisia archon larval attack.©Paola Riolo
Trachycharpus fortunei cut off 20 cm above soil level to observe Paysandisia archon larvae and gallery holes within stype.
TitleLarvae in situ
CaptionTrachycharpus fortunei cut off 20 cm above soil level to observe Paysandisia archon larvae and gallery holes within stype.
Copyright©Paola Riolo
Trachycharpus fortunei cut off 20 cm above soil level to observe Paysandisia archon larvae and gallery holes within stype.
Larvae in situTrachycharpus fortunei cut off 20 cm above soil level to observe Paysandisia archon larvae and gallery holes within stype.©Paola Riolo
Trachycharpus fortunei stype cut off at soil level to observe Paysandisia archon larva within its gallery.
TitleLarva in situ
CaptionTrachycharpus fortunei stype cut off at soil level to observe Paysandisia archon larva within its gallery.
Copyright©Paola Riolo
Trachycharpus fortunei stype cut off at soil level to observe Paysandisia archon larva within its gallery.
Larva in situTrachycharpus fortunei stype cut off at soil level to observe Paysandisia archon larva within its gallery.©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; larval semi-circular perforations on Trachycharpus fortunei leaf.
TitleDamage symptoms
CaptionPaysandisia archon; larval semi-circular perforations on Trachycharpus fortunei leaf.
Copyright©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; larval semi-circular perforations on Trachycharpus fortunei leaf.
Damage symptomsPaysandisia archon; larval semi-circular perforations on Trachycharpus fortunei leaf.©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; close-up of semi-circular larval perforations on Trachycharpus fortunei leaf.
TitleDamage symptoms
CaptionPaysandisia archon; close-up of semi-circular larval perforations on Trachycharpus fortunei leaf.
Copyright©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; close-up of semi-circular larval perforations on Trachycharpus fortunei leaf.
Damage symptomsPaysandisia archon; close-up of semi-circular larval perforations on Trachycharpus fortunei leaf.©Paola Riolo
Phoenix canariensis leaf-petiole cut off to observe the characteristic Paysandisia archon larval gallery hole.
TitleLarval damage
CaptionPhoenix canariensis leaf-petiole cut off to observe the characteristic Paysandisia archon larval gallery hole.
Copyright©Paola Riolo
Phoenix canariensis leaf-petiole cut off to observe the characteristic Paysandisia archon larval gallery hole.
Larval damagePhoenix canariensis leaf-petiole cut off to observe the characteristic Paysandisia archon larval gallery hole.©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; final larval instar within the stype of a two-year-old Chamaerops humilis.
TitleLarval damage
CaptionPaysandisia archon; final larval instar within the stype of a two-year-old Chamaerops humilis.
Copyright©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; final larval instar within the stype of a two-year-old Chamaerops humilis.
Larval damagePaysandisia archon; final larval instar within the stype of a two-year-old Chamaerops humilis.©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; cocoon protruding from the small stype of a two-year-old Chamaerops humilis.
TitleCocoon
CaptionPaysandisia archon; cocoon protruding from the small stype of a two-year-old Chamaerops humilis.
Copyright©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; cocoon protruding from the small stype of a two-year-old Chamaerops humilis.
CocoonPaysandisia archon; cocoon protruding from the small stype of a two-year-old Chamaerops humilis.©Paola Riolo
Abundant sawdust coming from the Paysandisia archon larval galleries on a Trachycharpus fortunei crown and presence of a pupal exuvia on the outside of the stype.
TitleEvidence of larval presence
CaptionAbundant sawdust coming from the Paysandisia archon larval galleries on a Trachycharpus fortunei crown and presence of a pupal exuvia on the outside of the stype.
Copyright©Paola Riolo
Abundant sawdust coming from the Paysandisia archon larval galleries on a Trachycharpus fortunei crown and presence of a pupal exuvia on the outside of the stype.
Evidence of larval presenceAbundant sawdust coming from the Paysandisia archon larval galleries on a Trachycharpus fortunei crown and presence of a pupal exuvia on the outside of the stype.©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; seven larvae killed by the entomopathogenic nematode, Steinernema carpocapsae.
TitleNatural enemy
CaptionPaysandisia archon; seven larvae killed by the entomopathogenic nematode, Steinernema carpocapsae.
Copyright©Paola Riolo
Paysandisia archon; seven larvae killed by the entomopathogenic nematode, Steinernema carpocapsae.
Natural enemyPaysandisia archon; seven larvae killed by the entomopathogenic nematode, Steinernema carpocapsae.©Paola Riolo

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Paysandisia archon (Burmeister)

Preferred Common Name

  • South American palm borer

Other Scientific Names

  • Castnia archon Burmeister, 1880
  • Castnia josepha Oberthür, 1914

International Common Names

  • English: castniid palm borer; palm borer moth
  • Spanish: mariposa de las palmas; oruga barrinadora de las palmeras; taladro del palmito

EPPO code

  • PAYSAR (Paysandisia archon)

Summary of Invasiveness

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P. archon is a Neotropical castniid species. It is not considered a pest in most of its native range, probably because it lives mainly on wild palm trees and not on crops; however, Houlbert (1918) and Bourquin (1933) reported that it had the potential to become a serious pest of palms. It was accidentally introduced to Europe from Argentina, as larvae hidden in imported palm trees, mostly Butia yatay and Trithrinaxcampestris. In Europe, where it is spreading rapidly, P. archon was first found in 2001 in Spain (Aguilar et al., 2001), France (Drescher and Dufay, 2001; Sarto i Monteys and Aguilar, 2001) and Italy (Espinosa et al., 2003; Riolo et al., 2004) and is considered an invasive species in these countries. It is already an invasive pest in France, Italy and Spain, where serious damage and plant mortality has been reported (1000 palm trees have been destroyed) and has become a pest in Buenos Aires, where it was introduced from north-east Argentina (Sarto i Monteys and Aguilar, 2005). The moth is currently listed in the EPPO A2 List (n. 338) of 'Pests recommended for regulation as quarantine pests' (OEPP/EPPO, 2008) and in European Phytosanitary Legislation in AnnexII/Part A/Section II (COMMISSION DIRECTIVE 2009/7/EC of 10 February 2009 amending Annexes I, II, IV and V to Council Directive 2000/29/EC on protective measures against the introduction into the Community of organisms harmful to plants or plant products and against their spread within the Community).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Lepidoptera
  •                         Family: Castniidae
  •                             Genus: Paysandisia
  •                                 Species: Paysandisia archon

Description

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P. archon is an attractive Neotropical castniid moth.

The eggs are fusiform, resembling a rice grain, light cream or creamy pink when freshly laid, and bearing from six to seven ridges.

The larva emerges by gently splitting the corion along one of the longitudinal ridges. Immediately after hatching, the larva is pink. After the first moult, mobility diminishes notably, the larva becomes ivory white, chaetotaxy changes and cuticular spinules appear; all these new traits are retained throughout the remaining larval stages. After emergence, the body length is 7.3 ± 2.2 mm and when fully grown the larva may reach a body length of 9 cm. There are nine larval instars.

The pupae are pale yellowish in colour immediately after pupation, turning a reddish brown after the pupal cuticle darkens and hardens (about 2 days). The pupa is about 5.5 cm. Most of the abdominal segments are furnished dorsally with transversal rows of short spines pointing backwards. When ready to leave the cocoon, the pupa exits by means of these spines and the mobility of its abdomen, and is about two-thirds protruding from the cocoon when the adult emerges (pupal exuviae can be found anchored in the cocoon). The pupa is protected by a palm-fibre cocoon located near the surface of the stype (trunk) or leaf axil. The cocoons are fusiform with an average length of 5.8 cm (range: 7.4-5.2 cm) and are stout with the inner walls smoothly coated by a layer of silk and secretions. The outer walls are loosely covered by fragments of palm fibres, which makes them very cryptic (Sarto i Monteys and Aguilar, 2005).

The adult has a large wingspan of 6-10 cm. It has greenish-brown forewings; the hindwings are orange, with a wide transverse black band containing five or six white cells. The antennae are clubbed with a typical apical hook. Females bear a long, telescopic ovipositor and are generally larger than the males (Miller, 1986; Sarto i Monteys and Aguilar, 2005).

Distribution

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P. archon is a Neotropical species indigenous to South America: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay (Miller, 1986; Lamas, 1995; Sarto i Monteys, 2002; González and Stüning, 2007). In Europe it has been reported from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Italy, Greece, Slovenia, Spain and the UK (Aguilar et al., 2001; Sarto i Monteys and Aguilar, 2001; Patton and Perry, 2002; Espinosa et al., 2003; Vassarmidaki et al., 2006; Larsen, 2009; Vassiliou et al., 2009; European Commission, 2009; EPPO, 2009a, b, c).

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

South America

ArgentinaPresentNative Not invasive Sarto i Monteys, 2002; EPPO, 2014north-western Argentina
BrazilRestricted distributionEPPO, 2014
-Rio Grande do SulPresentNative Not invasive Sarto i Monteys, 2002; CABI/EPPO, 2006; EPPO, 2014
ParaguayPresentNative Not invasive Sarto i Monteys, 2002; EPPO, 2014Paraguayan Chaco
UruguayPresentNative Not invasive Sarto i Monteys, 2002; EPPO, 2014western Uruguay

Europe

AustriaAbsent, no pest recordEPPO, 2014
BulgariaPresentIntroduced Not invasive European Commission, 2009
CroatiaPresentIntroducedMilek and Simala, 2012; Milek and Simala, 2013
CyprusPresentIntroducedVassiliou et al., 2009; EPPO, 2014Paphos district
Czech RepublicTransient: actionable, under eradicationEPPO, 2011; EPPO, 2014
DenmarkAbsent, intercepted onlyLarsen, 2009; EPPO, 2014
FrancePresentIntroduced Invasive Drescher and Jaubert, 2003; EPPO, 2014Departments of Var, Pirénées-Orientales, Bouches-du-Rhône, Hérault and Gironde.
GreecePresentIntroducedVassarmidaki et al., 2006; EPPO, 2014Crete and Attica
-CreteRestricted distributionEPPO, 2014
ItalyPresentIntroducedEPPO, 2009a; Espinosa et al., 2003; ARPAT, 2004; Riolo et al., 2004; Porcelli et al., 2005; Bariselli and Vai, 2009; EPPO, 2014
-SicilyPresentIntroducedColazza et al., 2005; EPPO, 2014
NetherlandsAbsent, confirmed by surveyNPPO of the Netherlands, 2013; EPPO, 2014Based on ongoing long-term monitoring of importing companies, 75 survey observations in 2012.
PortugalAbsent, unreliable recordEPPO, 2014
SloveniaTransient: actionable, under eradicationIntroduced Not invasive EPPO, 2009c; EPPO, 2014
SpainPresentIntroduced Invasive Sarto and Aguilar, 2005; Tapia et al., 2010; EPPO, 2014Catalonia, Valencia Community
-Balearic IslandsPresentIntroducedEPPO, 2005; EPPO, 2007; EPPO, 2014
SwitzerlandPresent, few occurrencesEPPO, 2014
UKEradicatedReid, 2008; EPPO, 2014
-England and WalesEradicatedReid, 2008; EPPO, 2014

History of Introduction and Spread

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In Europe P. archon was probably introduced between 1992 and 1998 on Butia yatay and Trithrinax campestris plants from Argentina (Sarto i Monteys and Aguilar, 2001; Riolo et al., 2004). It was first detected over a wide area in the north east of Spain (Girona, Catalonia) on Trachycarpus fortunei, Phoenix canariensis and Chamaerops humilis (Aguilar et al., 2001). It was later detected on the Balearic Islands and in the Valencian Community (EPPO, 2003, 2005, 2007) and is now present at several sites along the Mediterranean Spanish coast from Girona to Alicante (Sarto i Monteys and Aguilar, 2005). It was first found in France in the summer of 2001, near Hyères (Department of Var) (Drescher and Dufay, 2001; Sarto i Monteys and Aguilar, 2001) and later in Languedoc-Roussillon (Department of Hérault) (EPPO, 2003). It is considered established in the Departments of Var, Pirénées-Orientales, Bouches-du-Rhône, Hérault and Gironde on several palm species: C. humilis, Livistona chinensis, Livistona decipiens, Livistonasaribus, T. fortunei, Sabal sp., P. canariensis, Phoenixdactylifera, Phoenixreclinata, T. campestris and Washingtonia filifera (Drescher and Jaubert, 2003). In November 2002 P. archon was reported for the first time in Italy when three adults were observed along the seafront of Salerno (Campania) (Espinosa et al., 2003). In autumn 2003, workers in the province of Ascoli Piceno (Marche) reported damage on palms due to ‘big white’ larvae. Investigations revealed the presence of P. archon in some nurseries of this province on P. canariensis, C. humilis, T. fortunei and W. filifera (Riolo et al., 2004). The pest was then reported in Tuscany (ARPAT, 2004), Sicily (Colazza et al., 2005), Lazio, Abruzzo (S Nardi, 2005, personal communication), Puglia (Porcelli et al., 2005), Liguria (EPPO, 2008), Emilia-Romagna (Bariselli and Vai, 2009) and Veneto (EPPO, 2009a). After a single isolated record, in 2002, of an adult in a private garden in West Sussex, UK (Patton and Perry, 2002), nine live adult P. archon were discovered in the atrium of an office building in West Malling, Kent in May 2007; the moths had emerged from four 5 m-tall P. canariensis palms imported from Spain in October 2006. In addition three live P. archon larvae were discovered at a nursery in North London damaging T. fortunei palms imported from Italy in July 2007 (Reid, 2008). P. archon was observed for the first time in Greece in 2006 (Crete and Attica) on C. humilis, T. fortunei and W. robusta (Vassarmidaki et al., 2006). In 2008 a specimen of P. archon was found for the first time on the islands of Cyprus (Paphos district) on C. humilis, W. filifera and P. roebelenii  (Vassiliou et al., 2009) and also in Slovenia on T. fortunei (EPPO, 2009c). In April 2009 one living larva of P. archon was found indoors in Denmark on a T. fortunei plant introduced from Italy in 2008 (Larsen, 2009) and Bulgaria announced the finding of P. archon on P. canariensis also originating from Italy (European Commission, 2009). P. archon is considered an invasive species in France, Italy and Spain.

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Bulgaria Italy   European Commission (2009) Accidental introduction
Cyprus Italy 2008 No Vassiliou et al. (2009) Accidental introduction
Denmark Italy 2008 No Larsen (2009) Accidental introduction
France Argentina 1992-1993 Yes Sarto and Aguilar (2001) Accidental introduction
Italy Argentina 1995-1998 Yes Riolo et al. (2004) Accidental introduction
Italy Spain 1995-1998 Yes Riolo et al. (2004) Accidental introduction
Slovenia   No EPPO (2009c) Accidental introduction
Spain Argentina 1992-1993 Yes Sarto and Aguilar (2001) Accidental introduction
UK Spain 2002 No Reid (2008) Accidental introduction
UK Italy 2002 No Reid (2008) Accidental introduction

Risk of Introduction

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P. archon can be introduced to new areas by the commercial import of palms (Arecaceae) from areas where the pest occurs; the movement of palm trees with passengers; and by natural spread, the adult is a very powerful flier. The pest is spread over large distances mainly through the movement of infested plant material as it can often go undetected.

P. archon was accidentally introduced to the European Community (EC) with commodities imported from South America and it is now widespread in France, Italy and Spain. The risk of a new introduction is lower than the spread of the insect within the EC by internal trade or natural spread.

Several palm species are grown in protected cultivation in the northern part of the European and Mediterranean region, in the open field in nurseries and as amenity trees in the southern region. Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) is an important crop in North African countries.

The moth is currently listed in European Phytosanitary Legislation in AnnexII/Part A/Section II (COMMISSION DIRECTIVE 2009/7/EC of 10 February 2009 amending Annexes I, II, IV and V to Council Directive 2000/29/EC on protective measures against the introduction into the Community of organisms harmful to plants or plant products and against their spread within the Community).

P. archon is listed as a quarantine pest in EPPO member countries (Albania, Algeria, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jersey, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, UK, Ukraine and Uzbekistan).

The endangered area is primarily the southern part of the EPPO region (Mediterranean countries, Macronesia, Portugal) where palm trees are grown outdoors as crops or are present in the urban landscape and in forests.

The following countries within the EPPO region and neighbouring countries are most at risk: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Greece (including Crete), Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestine, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Serbia, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland (Tessin), Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Littoral
Coastal areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial-managed
Buildings Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Protected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial-natural
semi-natural/Scrub / shrublands Principal habitat Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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All known hosts are palms (Arecaceae). In South America, P. archon has been recorded on the following plants: Butia yatay, B. capitata, Beccari, Chamaerops humilis, Livistona chinensis, Phoenix canariensis, Syagrus romanzoffiana and Trithrinax campestris. In Europe it has been recorded on Brahea armata, B. edulis, B. capitata, C. humilis, Livistona sp., P. canariensis, P. dactylifera, P. reclinata, P. roebeleni, P. sylvestris, Sabal mexicana, S. minor, S. palmetto, S. romanzoffiana, Trachycarpus fortunei, T. wagnerianus, Trithrinax campestris, Washingtonia filifera and W. robusta (Sarto i Monteys and Aguilar, 2005).

Growth Stages

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Symptoms

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Symptoms of infestation by P.archon on palms, described by Drescher and Dufay (2001), Riolo et al. (2004) and Sarto i Monteys and Aguilar (2005), are:

  • abundant sawdust extruding from larval galleries on the crown and/or stype (trunk);
  • perforated or nibbled leaves (non specific) (i.e., Trachycarpusfortunei, Chamaeropshumilis, Washingtonia filifera);
  • gallery holes (axial and transversal) within the stype (i.e., T. fortunei, C. humilis, W. filifera) and leaf petioles (i.e., Phoenix spp.) (observed when cut);
  • pupal exuviae on the outside of the stype;
  • presence of adults;
  • presence of eggs in the palm fibres;
  • abnormal development of auxiliary leaf buds;
  • deformation and abnormal twisting of stypes:
  • abnormal drying up of the palm, especially the core leaves.

Heavy larval attack may kill the palm tree. Infested hosts can be asymptomatic.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Fruit / external feeding
Fruit / internal feeding
Growing point / distortion
Growing point / external feeding
Growing point / internal feeding; boring
Inflorescence / internal feeding
Leaves / abnormal colours
Leaves / external feeding
Leaves / frass visible
Leaves / internal feeding
Leaves / yellowed or dead
Stems / dead heart
Stems / internal feeding
Stems / visible frass
Whole plant / dead heart
Whole plant / distortion; rosetting
Whole plant / early senescence
Whole plant / external feeding
Whole plant / frass visible
Whole plant / internal feeding
Whole plant / plant dead; dieback

Biology and Ecology

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Reproductive biology

There is very little information in the literature on P. archon in its native area mainly because it isn’t a pest in its native range. This may be because it lives on wild palm trees and natural enemies limit its populations. The only available publication is a short note which contains some biological information (Bourquin, 1933). In Europe P.archon adults appear in mid-May and disappear in September-October, with a peak in abundance during June and July. P. archon males are very territorial and powerful fliers. They fly repeatedly over rather small areas, returning to the same perching place. Long range sex recognition appears to be mediated by visual attraction. It is possible to observe all stages of the pest (eggs, larvae, pupae and adults) during the summer. The adult moths emerge and are active during the hottest part of sunny days. Eggs are laid between the palm fibres, either singly or in a small cluster. The average number of eggs laid in the wild is not known but could be around 140 on the basis of observations on female dissections by Sarto i Monteys and Aguilar (2005). The larvae start looking for food immediately after hatching, and shelter and bore into the host plants. The larvae are endophagous for most of their lives, with only the first instar being partly or fully exophagous. P. archon overwinters as larvae and all larval instars can be found in the palms during winter. Consequently some larvae, generally those hatched early in the season, overwinter once, whereas others will overwinter twice. Cocoons with living pupae can be found from mid-March to mid-September. Larvae can be found tunnelling in different parts of the palms. Early-instar larvae can be found in the stype, within the fruit of C. humilis, or within the leaf rachis (especially in Phoenixcanariensis and Washingtonia filifera). For example, in Trachycarpusfortunei, the first-instar larvae can bore into the young, packed palm leaves. This chewing becomes very obvious later, as the leaf develops, opens and expands, showing a series of consecutive holes on a circular section. Large larvae will only be found in the stype. They tend to bore into and remain within the very core of these structures, where the humidity is higher and the temperature more stable. The cocoon is always located on or near the surface of the stype or leaf axil. The cocoon remains in a cavity at one end of the terminal larval gallery (Riolo et al., 2005; Sarto i Monteys and Aguilar, 2005).

Nutrition

P. archon larvae are specialized feeders on palm trees (Arecaceae). Although they have a well-developed proboscis, P. archon adults have never been seen feeding in the wild or in captivity (Miller, 1986; Sarto i Monteys and Aguilar, 2005).

Environmental requirements

P. archon is native to north-western Argentina, Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul), Paraguay (Paraguayan Chaco) and western Uruguay (Miller, 1986; Lamas, 1995; Sarto i Monteys and Aguilar, 2005).

In its native range the moth lives on Butia yatay, Trithrinaxcampestris and Syagrus romanzoffiana in the ecosystems where these palm species occur. T. campestris is a south American palm native of Uruguayan and north-eastern Argentine savannas and also extends to the summits of mountain ranges of Sierras de Córdoba and Sierras de San Luis. B. yatay is native of Argentina, southern Brazil and Uruguay and grows in arid savannas in subtropical or temperate climate with soft summers and cold winters. S. romanzoffiana is indigenous to southern and south-eastern Brazil, eastern Paraguay, north-eastern Argentina and northern Uruguay, where it grows in monsoonal forests and swampy areas, always at low altitudes. T. campestris and B. yatay are present in Uruguayan savanna. The Uruguayan savanna, also known as the Brazilian-Uruguayan savanna, is a subtropical grassland and savanna ecoregion which includes all of Uruguay, some areas of north-eastern Argentina and southernmost Brazil. The Uruguayan savanna ecoregion extends from the extreme southern part of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, to include the entire country of Uruguay, and a small section of the Argentinean province of Entre Ríos. These savannas encompass a mosaic of gallery forests, palm savannas and outcropping of submontane forests. Annual precipitation in the area ranges from 1000 mm in the southern part to 1300 mm in the northern part. The average temperature is 16°C in the south and 19°C in the north. This large ecoregion is relatively flat, ranging from sea-level to altitudes of about 500 m in some areas (McGinley, 2007).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
BS - Steppe climate Preferred > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
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)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
29-34

Notes on Natural Enemies

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No natural enemies are reported in the literature for this castniid species.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Accidental introduction

There are two pathways of accidental introduction:

1) the commercial import of palms (Arecaceae) originating from areas where the pest occurs; this is probably the main pathway by which the pest spreads over large distances as it can often go undetected (international level).

2) the movement of palm trees from a contaminated area to an area free from the pest (national level).

Natural dispersal

The adult moth is a long-distance flier (Sarto i Monteys and Aguilar, 2005). If an infested palm is sold to an end consumer in a region where there are very few other palms present, it is unlikely that the pest could establish in that region.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Nursery tradeFrom Argentina to Italy, France and Spain. Yes Riolo et al., 2004; Sarto and Aguilar, 2001

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Plants or parts of plantsLarva and pupa Yes Yes Sarto and Aguilar, 2005

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 eggs; larvae; pupae Yes Yes Pest or symptoms usually invisible

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Negative

Economic Impact

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In Uruguay, Bourquin (1933) reported occasional damage caused by P.archon larvae to exotic palms (Latania sp., Chamaerops sp. and Phoenix canariensis) whereas native palms such as Butia yatay and Trithrinax campestris appeared to be more tolerant to attack by the pest. At present P. archon is very rare in its native range (Sarto i Montey and Aguilar, 2005); however, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, many palm trees that are not native to this area have been killed or are dying because of P. archon larvae (Sarto i Monteys and Aguilar, 2005).

In Europe, severe damage and plant mortality has been reported in Italy, France and Spain (Aguilar et al., 2001; Drescher and Dufay, 2001; Sarto i Monteys and Aguilar, 2001Riolo et al., 2004). In some nurseries in Marche, Italy, damage has led to a 90% loss of production on Chamaerops humilis, Washingtonia filifera, Trachycarpus fortunei and P. canariensis (Riolo et al., 2005). In Italy, France and Spain palm trees infested by P. archon have also been observed in urban areas (Sarto i Monteys and Aguilar, 2005; Porcelli et al. 2006; P Riolo, 2006, personal communication). Some stands of native C. humilis were found to be infested on the Balearic islands in 2003 (Sarto i Monteys and Aguilar, 2005).

Environmental Impact

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P. archon can attack palms present as amenity trees in the Mediterranean region and can threaten palm forests (e.g. the Elche palm forest in Spain, which is a UNESCO site) and palms in historical parks and collections. Date palm, a host plant for P. archon, is the most characteristic species of vegetation in oases. Nevertheless, habitat impacts have not been recorded in areas where the pest is present.

Impact on Biodiversity

P. archon could be a threat to the subtropical species Phoenix canariensis which is native to the Canary Islands, and to the two European palm species Phoenix theophrasti and Chamaerops humilis (Montagud Alario, 2004). In the coastal regions of the eastern Canary Islands, where many species are related to the flora of Sahara desert, P. canariensis is part of the natural vegetation. P. theophrasti is native to Greece (Crete) and Turkey (registered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species) (Johnson, 1998). C. humilis is distributed along the Mediterranean Basin, which stretches from Portugal east to Jordan and from northern Italy south to Morocco and includes parts of Spain, France, the Balkan states, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria, as well as around 5000 islands scattered around the Mediterranean Sea (Caley, 2008).

There are no reports on the impact on biodiversity caused P. archon in its current area of distribution.

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Chamaerops humilis (dwarf fan palm)No DetailsCyprus; Greece; Balearic IslandsHerbivory/grazing/browsingSarto and Aguilar, 2005; Vassarmidaki et al., 2006; Vassiliou et al., 2009

Social Impact

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P. archon can attack palm trees and may, thereby, decrease the recreational value of landscapes, private gardens, historical palm sites and botanical gardens. Damage to palms in urban areas could lead to security problems due to the possible collapse of palm parts (stype, leaves, etc.). Date palm production is important from North Africa to the Persian Gulf. Impacts are not reported on this crop, but if damage does occur, it could affect lifestyle.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Highly mobile locally
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Host damage
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts tourism
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Negatively impacts trade/international relations
Impact mechanisms
  • Herbivory/grazing/browsing
  • Interaction with other invasive species
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant

Diagnosis

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European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (2011) describes a diagnostic protocol for P. archon.

Detection and Inspection

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The larvae of P. archon are internal feeders, not easy to detect, and symptom expression is not the same on different palm tree species.

Damage is observed at different levels of the palm tree: leaves, rachis and stype:
- inspect the crown and stype for sawdust;
- inspect the leaves for perforations (non specific);
- inspect the palm for pupal exuviae on the outside of the stype;
- inspect the palm fibres for eggs.

As P. archon cannot readily be detected in consignments of young palms, phytosanitary measures to prevent its introduction should concentrate on ensuring the absence of the pest at the place of production. The following possibilities have been considered: origin from a pest-free area, origin from a pest-free place of production (pest-free for at least 2 years), plants produced under suitable protected conditions (e.g. under a net) or various combinations of these measures. In addition, countries in which P. archon is already present should apply phytosanitary measures to suppress and contain existing outbreaks (OEPP/EPPO, 2008).

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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In Europe P. archon is the only species of the Castniidae family (Lopez Vaamonde et al., 2010).

Prevention and Control

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SPS Measures

P. archon is listed in the EPPO A2 List of ‘Pests recommended for regulation as quarantine pests’. As P. archon cannot readily be detected in consignments of young palms, phytosanitary measures to prevent its introduction should concentrate on ensuring the absence of the pest at the place of production. The following possibilities have been considered: origin from a pest-free area, origin from a pest-free place of production (since at least 2 years), plants produced under suitable protected conditions (e.g. under a net), or various combinations of these measures. In addition, countries in which P. archon is already present should apply phytosanitary measures to suppress and contain existing outbreaks (OEPP/EPPO, 2008).

According to Council Directive 2000/29/EC all imported consignments of plants and plant products requiring a Phytosanitary Certificate have to be inspected by the Plant Protection Services in order to prevent the introduction of harmful organisms with the imported commodities.

Eradication

Eradication is difficult because the larvae develop within the host plant for 1-2 years. Also, the adult moths can fly away. Economically speaking, eradication measures are expensive and in some cases imply the destruction of the host plant/s.

Control

The biological characteristics of P.archon make its control difficult (the larvae is endophagous except for a very short time from eclosion to entering the host plant). As P. archon is not a pest in its native range, no control methods have been developed there.

Physical/Mechanical control

An original approach proposed by scientists at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) consists of coating the sensitive part of the stype with a glue that acts as a physical barrier between the tree and P.archon (Peltier, 2007).

Movement Control

P. archon is listed in European Phytosanitary Legislation in AnnexII/Part A/Section II (COMMISSION DIRECTIVE 2009/7/EC of 10 February 2009 amending Annexes I, II, IV and V to Council Directive 2000/29/EC on protective measures against the introduction into the Community of organisms harmful to plants or plant products and against their spread within the Community) as ‘Pests, known to occur in the European Union, whose introduction into, and/or whose spread within all European Union member States is prohibited, with reference to specific plants or plant products’: ‘Plants of Palmae intended for planting having a diameter of the stem at the base of over 5 cm and belonging to the following genera: Brahea, Butia, Chamaerops, Jubaea, Livistona, Phoenix, Sabal, Syagrus, Trachycarpus, Trithrinax, Washingtonia’.It is required an official statement (Annex IV, Part A, Section I)that plants: (a) have been grown throughout their life in a country where P. archon is not known to occur; or (b) have been grown throughout their life in an area free from P. archon, established by the national plant protection organisation in accordance with relevant International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures; or (c) have, during a period of at least 2 years prior to export, been grown in a place of production:

- which is registered and supervised by the national plant protection organisation in the country of origin, and

- where the plants were placed in a site with complete physical protection against the introduction of P. archon or with application of appropriate preventive treatments, and

- where, during three official inspections per year carried out at appropriate times, including immediately prior to export, no signs of P. archon have been observed.

Biological Control

Preventive and curative field trials carried out in Italy and Spain in order to evaluate the efficacy of the entomopathogenic nematode Steinernema carpocapsae showed a very high efficacy (Sanchez and Clemente, 2007; Martinez de Altube and Martinez Peña, 2009; Nardi et al., 2009).

Laboratory trials with a strain of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana (strain Bb 147) have been conducted in France and have shown good results (Millet et al., 2007; Besse-Millet et al., 2008).

Chemical Control

Good results were obtained in Spain by wetting the palm crown and stype with contact and/or systemic chemical insecticides (Sarto i Monteys and Aguilar, 2005). In Italy, the Marche Plant Protection Service observed that foliar applications of chemical insecticides over a 3 year period (2005-2007) had difficulty reaching endophagous P. archon larvae (Nardi et al., 2009). Tree injections of insecticides have also been used against this pest in Europe (Reid and Moran, 2009).

It should be stressed that the availability of products containing these active substances varies nationally. In addition it is difficult to develop insecticide treatments that can be used on palms in public areas (parks and gardens).

References

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
Biodiversity Heritage Libraryhttp://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
EUR LEX Access to European Union Lawhttp://eur-lex.europa.eu/en/index.htm
European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO)http://www.eppo.org

Contributors

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09/03/10 Original text by:

P Riolo, Marche Polytechnic University, Section of Plant Protection, 60131 Ancona, Italy

Sandro Nardi, ASSAM, Regional Phytosanitary Service, Via Alpi, 21 - Ancona, Italy

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