Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Paranthrene tabaniformis
(poplar clearwing moth)



Paranthrene tabaniformis (poplar clearwing moth)


  • Last modified
  • 29 March 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Paranthrene tabaniformis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • poplar clearwing moth
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta

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Adult male of P. tabaniformis (poplar clearwing). Adult wingspan is ca 30 mm.
TitleAdult male
CaptionAdult male of P. tabaniformis (poplar clearwing). Adult wingspan is ca 30 mm.
CopyrightGeorgi Georgiev
Adult male of P. tabaniformis (poplar clearwing). Adult wingspan is ca 30 mm.
Adult maleAdult male of P. tabaniformis (poplar clearwing). Adult wingspan is ca 30 mm.Georgi Georgiev
P. tabaniformis larva in the stem of a one-year-old poplar seedling.
CaptionP. tabaniformis larva in the stem of a one-year-old poplar seedling.
CopyrightGeorgi Georgiev
P. tabaniformis larva in the stem of a one-year-old poplar seedling.
LarvaP. tabaniformis larva in the stem of a one-year-old poplar seedling.Georgi Georgiev
P. tabaniformis; external opening of larval galleries on three-year-old poplar stem.
TitleLarval gallery opening
CaptionP. tabaniformis; external opening of larval galleries on three-year-old poplar stem.
CopyrightGeorgi Georgiev
P. tabaniformis; external opening of larval galleries on three-year-old poplar stem.
Larval gallery openingP. tabaniformis; external opening of larval galleries on three-year-old poplar stem.Georgi Georgiev
Larval galleries of P. tabaniformis in five-year-old poplar stem.
TitleInternal damage
CaptionLarval galleries of P. tabaniformis in five-year-old poplar stem.
CopyrightGeorgi Georgiev
Larval galleries of P. tabaniformis in five-year-old poplar stem.
Internal damageLarval galleries of P. tabaniformis in five-year-old poplar stem.Georgi Georgiev
Pupa of P. tabaniformis at the beginning of its development.
CaptionPupa of P. tabaniformis at the beginning of its development.
CopyrightGeorgi Georgiev
Pupa of P. tabaniformis at the beginning of its development.
PupaPupa of P. tabaniformis at the beginning of its development.Georgi Georgiev
Pupal skin of P. tabaniformis protruding from an exit hole in a one-year-old poplar seedling.
TitlePupal skin
CaptionPupal skin of P. tabaniformis protruding from an exit hole in a one-year-old poplar seedling.
CopyrightGeorgi Georgiev
Pupal skin of P. tabaniformis protruding from an exit hole in a one-year-old poplar seedling.
Pupal skinPupal skin of P. tabaniformis protruding from an exit hole in a one-year-old poplar seedling.Georgi Georgiev
P. tabaniformis gall on the stem of a one-year-old poplar seedling.
TitleDamage symptom
CaptionP. tabaniformis gall on the stem of a one-year-old poplar seedling.
CopyrightGeorgi Georgiev
P. tabaniformis gall on the stem of a one-year-old poplar seedling.
Damage symptomP. tabaniformis gall on the stem of a one-year-old poplar seedling.Georgi Georgiev


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Paranthrene tabaniformis Rottemburg, 1775

Preferred Common Name

  • poplar clearwing moth

Other Scientific Names

  • Aegeria tabaniformis Rottemburg, 1775
  • Aegeria tricincta (Harris, 1839)
  • Albuna denotata (H. Edwards, 1882)
  • Paranthrene rhingiaeformis var. intermedia (Le Cerf, 1916)
  • Paranthrene tabaniformis f. sangaica (Bartel, 1912)
  • Paranthrene tricincta f. oslari (Engelhardt, 1946)
  • Sciapteron tabaniforme Rottemburg, 1775
  • Sciapteron tabaniforme var. kungessana (Alpheraky, 1882)
  • Sciapteron tabaniformis Rottemburg, 1775
  • Sesia crabroniformis (Laspeyres, 1801)
  • Sesia serratiformis (Freyer, 1842)
  • Sesia synagriformis (Rambur, 1866)
  • Sesia tabaniformis Rottemburg, 1775
  • Sphinx asiliformis ([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)
  • Sphinx rhingiaeformis (Hübner, 1790)
  • Sphinx tabaniformis Rottemburg, 1775
  • Sphinx vespiformis (Newman, 1832)

International Common Names

  • English: dusky clearwing; dusky, clearwing; poplar twig borer
  • Spanish: oruga perforadora del chopo
  • French: petite sésie du peuplier
  • Russian: Malaya topolevaya stekljannitsa; tiomnokrilaya stekljannitsa
  • Chinese: poplar small aegerid
  • Portuguese: larva perforadora do chopo

Local Common Names

  • Bulgaria: malka topolova staklenka
  • Czechoslovakia (former): nesytka ovádová
  • Finland: varjolasisiipi
  • Germany: Glasfluegler, Kleiner Pappel-; Kleiner Pappelglasschwärmer
  • Italy: tarlo vespa del pioppo
  • Netherlands: populiereglasvlinder
  • Poland: przeziernik topolowiec
  • Serbia: mali topolin staklokrilac
  • Sweden: svart poppelglasvinge

EPPO code

  • PARHTA (Paranthrene tabaniformis)

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Lepidoptera
  •                         Family: Sesiidae
  •                             Genus: Paranthrene
  •                                 Species: Paranthrene tabaniformis

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page Paranthrene tabaniformis belongs to the Lepidopteran family Sesiidae which includes over 1000 described species (Heppner and Duckworth, 1981; Eichlin and Duckworth, 1988). The family is represented by two subfamilies, Tinthiinae and Sesiinae (Lastuvka and Lastuvka, 1995), and P. tabaniformis belongs to the Sesiinae.

P. tabaniformis was described as Sphinx tabaniformis (Rottemburg, 1775). In the Palearctic region this species has also been reported under the following synonyms: Sphinx asiliformis (Denis and Schiffermüller, 1775), Sphinx rhingiaeformis (Hübner, 1790), Sesia crabroniformis (Laspeyres, 1801), Sphinx vespiformis (Newman, 1832), Sesia serratiformis (Freyer, 1842) and Sesia synagriformis (Rambur, 1866). The genus Paranthrene has been established by Hübner (1819). Different forms and aberrations of P. tabaniformis were also described in the Old World: Sciapteron tabaniforme var. kungessana (Alpheraky, 1882), Paranthrene rhingiaeformis var. intermedia (Le Cerf, 1916) and Paranthrene tabaniformis f. sangaica (Bartel, 1912). Recently a geographical form insolitus of P. tabaniformis from Syria was reported (Templado, 1964), but this is now recognized as a different valid species, Paranthrene insolitus Le Cerf, 1914 (Heppner and Duckworth, 1981; Lastuvka and Lastuvka, 1995).

The Nearctic species P. tricincta was described as Aegeria tricincta (Harris, 1839). It was also reported as Albuna denotata (H. Edwards, 1882). Engelhardt (1946, cited in Eichlin and Duckworth, 1988) considered P. tabaniformis to occur only in Europe and maintained P. tricincta as the North American element of the closely related species pair on the basis of slight differences in the male genitalia. According to Eichlin and Duckworth (1988), however, these differences are well within the normal range of variation in the species and do not justify maintaining P. tricincta as a separate species.

Two subspecies have been established in the Western Palaearctic: Paranthrene tabaniformis tabaniformis (Rottemburg, 1775) and Paranthrene tabaniformis synagriformis (Rambur, 1866) (de Freina, 1997). An Asiatic subspecies, Paranthrene tabaniformis kungessana (Alphéraky, 1882), occurs in Palaearctic China (de Freina, 1997).


Top of page Eggs are black with elliptical shape (0.8-0.9 mm length, 0.55 mm width and 0.35 mm height). The surface of the chorion is micro-sculptured.

Neonate larvae are light grey or rose-coloured. After the third stage, the larvae have an off-white or light yellow body with a dark longitudinal dorsal stripe (see Pictures). The head and prothorax scute are brown. There are two brown spines on the last abdominal segment. The larvae which become male and female adults have six and seven stages, respectively (Turundaevskaya, 1981). At successive stages of their development, larval dimensions are 1.2-2 mm, 2-8 mm, 6-15 mm, 9-23 mm, 15-30 mm, 17-31 mm, and 19-32 mm (Georgiev, 1995a). Head capsule widths of successive larval stages are on average 0.36 mm, 0.74 mm, 1.33 mm, 1.76 mm, 2.24 mm, 2.88 mm, and 3.71 mm (Georgiev, 1995a).

Pupae are 13-21 mm in length and 4-6 mm in width. They are initially light brown (see Pictures), later becoming brown, russet and blackish (see Pictures). At the end of pupal development, the yellow rings of the abdomen are seen through the pupal skin. The male and female pupae weigh on average 160 and 223 mg, respectively (Turundaevskaya, 1981).

The adults of P. tabaniformis resemble wasps (see Pictures). They are bluish-black with a wingspan from 18 to 35 mm. There are many yellow spots and stripes on the head, thorax and legs. The forewings are elongate, dark brown without transparent cells distally. The hindwings are entirely transparent, shorter and broader than forewings. The wings are bordered with brown fringes. The anal tuft is blue-black, larger in males than in females.

In the subspecies tabaniformis, abdominal segments 2, 4, 6, and 7 (in males) are banded with yellow scales (see Pictures). The upper surface of the antennae is black and the lower surface is rust-coloured.

The European form rhingiaeformis has yellow rings on all abdominal segments.

The Nearctic form denotata differs by having abdominal segments 3 and 5 narrowly edged posteriorly with yellow in both sexes, and the anal tuft of the males mixed with some yellow. Another Nearctic form, oslari, has all abdominal segments except segment 1 with yellow bands, widest on segments 2 and 6, narrower on 3 and 5; the female has more yellow than the male on all the segments mentioned (Eichlin and Duckworth, 1988).

The subspecies synagriformis is characterized by light brown antennae and forewings, metathorax with two small yellow spots and yellow rings on all abdominal segments, which are more prominent than in the nominate form (de Freina, 1997).


Top of page P. tabaniformis is a Holarctic speces. The nominate subspecies, P. tabaniformis tabaniformis occurs in the whole of Europe with the exception of the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula, Asia Minor, Near East, Caucasus to Central Asia and India, the whole of Siberia, Mongolia, Amur region to North Japan (Hokkaido) and North America (de Freina, 1997). In North America P. tabaniformis occurs from the eastern half of the United States through the Midwest (Oklahoma) and Rocky Mountains, across southern Canada and north into Alaska (Eichlin and Duckworth, 1988).

The West Palaearctic form rhingiaeformis, which does not differ from P. tabaniformis tabaniformis in genitalia, occurs more in Southern and Eastern Central Europe (de Freina, 1997).

P. tabaniformis synagriformis is distributed in North Africa from Morocco (High and Middle Atlas and in the western coastal regions) to Egypt, southern and central Spain, southern Portugal and south-eastern France (de Freina, 1997).

The Asiatic subspecies, P. tabaniformis kungessana occurs in Palaearctic China (de Freina, 1997). The form sangaica is also known from China (Templado, 1964).

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


ArmeniaWidespreadTurundaevskaya, 1981; Gorbunov, 1986
AzerbaijanWidespreadGorbunov, 1986
ChinaWidespreadDu et al., 1984; Du et al., 1985; Miao et al., 1985
-HeilongjiangWidespreadMiao et al., 1989
-JilinPresentSchmutzenhofer et al., 1996
-LiaoningPresentSchmutzenhofer et al., 1996
-Nei MengguPresentSchmutzenhofer et al., 1996
Georgia (Republic of)WidespreadGorbunov, 1986
IndiaPresentde Freina, 1997
IranPresentChodjai et al., 1977
IraqPresentChodjai et al., 1977
JapanPresentde Freina, 1977
-HokkaidoPresentde Freina, 1977
KazakhstanWidespreadTurundaevskaya, 1981
KyrgyzstanPresentTurundaevskaya, 1981
LebanonPresentChodjai et al., 1977
MongoliaPresentde Freina, 1977; Grechkin and Vorontzov, 1962
SyriaPresentChodjai et al., 1977
TurkeyWidespreadChodjai et al., 1977; Acatay, 1959; Yüksel, 1998
UzbekistanPresentTurundaevskaya, 1981


AlgeriaPresentTemplado, 1964
EgyptPresentde Freina, 1997
MoroccoPresentTemplado, 1964; de Freina, 1997

North America

CanadaPresentMorris, 1956; Eichlin and Duckworth, 1988
USAPresentMorris, 1956; Eichlin and Duckworth, 1988
-MississippiPresentSolomon et al., 1982


BulgariaWidespreadGeorgiev, 1995b; Keremidciev, 1966
Czechoslovakia (former)WidespreadSrot, 1966
DenmarkPresentFibiger and Kristensen, 1974
FinlandPresentFibiger and Kristensen, 1974; Vuola and Korpela, 1977
Former USSRUnconfirmed recordGorbunov, 1986
FrancePresentTemplado, 1964
GermanyPresentRohrig, 1953
GreeceWidespreadKalidis, 1962; Georgopulos, 1956
HungaryWidespreadSzontagh, 1965a; Szontagh, 1965b; Toth, 1970
IrelandPresentLastuvka and Lastuvka, 1995
ItalyWidespreadArru and Lapietra, 1974; Bertucci, 1986
LithuaniaPresentBuda et al., 1988
LuxembourgPresentLastuvka and Lastuvka, 1995
MacedoniaPresentLastuvka and Lastuvka, 1995
NetherlandsWidespreadMoraal and, 1993; Moraal, 1996
NorwayPresentFibiger and Kristensen, 1974
PolandWidespreadStrojny, 1958; Schnaiderova, 1980
PortugalPresentNogueira and Ferreira, 1968; Lastuvka and Lastuvka, 1995
RomaniaWidespreadCeianu, 1962; Ceianu et al., 1967
Russian FederationPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Central RussiaPresentKozhanchikov, 1955; Grechkin and Vorontzov, 1962; Suhareva, 1978
-Eastern SiberiaPresentKozhanchikov, 1955; Grechkin and Vorontzov, 1962; Suhareva, 1978
-Northern RussiaPresentKozhanchikov, 1955; Grechkin and Vorontzov, 1962; Suhareva, 1978
-Russian Far EastPresentKozhanchikov, 1955; Grechkin and Vorontzov, 1962; Suhareva, 1978
-Southern RussiaPresentKozhanchikov, 1955; Grechkin and Vorontzov, 1962; Suhareva, 1978
-Western SiberiaPresentKozhanchikov, 1955; Grechkin and Vorontzov, 1962; Suhareva, 1978
SlovakiaPresentLastuvka and Lastuvka, 1995
SloveniaPresentLastuvka and Lastuvka, 1995
SpainWidespreadDafauce and Astiaso, 1964; Templado, 1964; Dafauce, 1975
SwedenPresentFibiger and Kristensen, 1974
SwitzerlandPresentLastuvka and Lastuvka, 1995
UKWidespreadSouth, 1939; Lastuvka and Lastuvka, 1995
UkraineWidespreadTimchenko, 1965
Yugoslavia (former)WidespreadVasic, 1966; Jodal, 1967; Jodal, 1986


Top of page P. tabaniformis is a common pest in poplar nurseries, young poplar plantations and on ornamental poplars in urban environments (Grechkin and Vorontzov, 1962; Kailidis, 1962; Szontagh, 1965a, b; Ceianu et al., 1967; Jodal, 1986; Moraal et al., 1993; Georgiev, 2000a). It is also associated with Populus and Salix species in floodplain forests.

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page P. tabaniformis feeds mainly on poplars (Populus spp.) and rarely on willows (Salix spp.) (Templado, 1964; Fibiger and Kristensen, 1974; Vuola and Korpela, 1977; Postner, 1978; Turundaevskaya, 1981; Bertucci, 1986). In North America this species is considered to feed primarily on Salix spp. but has also been observed on Populus spp. (Eichlin and Duckworth, 1988).

In poplar nurseries and plantations, all cultivated hybrid poplars from Leuce section (clones of Populus alba), Aigeiros section (clones of P. nigra, P. deltoides and P. x euramericana [P. x canadensis]), Tacamahaca section (clones of P. trichocarpa [P. balsamifera subsp. trichocarpa]) and clones of Aigeiros x Tacamahaca are infested to varying degrees by P. tabaniformis (Ceianu et al., 1967; Georgiev, 1995a). No clones resistant to the pest attacks have been noted in field observations (Dafauce, 1975; Lapietra, 1976; Moraal, 1996). P. tabaniformis causes serious damage on ornamental poplars in urban areas (Goidanich, 1983; Georgiev and Delkov, 1997; Georgiev, 2000a).

Some other hosts of P. tabaniformis include: Hippophäe rhamnoides (Lastuvka and Lastuvka, 1995), Betula alba [B. pubescens] and the mistletoe Loranthus europaeus on Salix (de Freina, 1997).

Growth Stages

Top of page Vegetative growing stage


Top of page The following common symptoms indicate that host plants are infested by P. tabaniformis: swellings (galls) on the stems and branches, larval entrance holes with expelled frass, adult exit holes with pupal skins, and stem breakage.

The larvae of P. tabaniformis bore into the poplar stems producing galleries in the wood. In the nursery, infested 1-year-old poplar seedlings form symmetric galls at the points of larval feeding (see Pictures). These galls grow slowly until the end of the plant growth period.

Infested host plants are characterized by external openings of the larval galleries with frass (faecal material and wood particles) protruding from them (see Pictures).

After adult emergence, exit holes are clearly visible with a portion of the pupal skin (see Pictures).

In poplar plantations, infested 2- and 3-year-old trees are characterized by local swellings at the points of infection, whereas the oldest trees are without swellings. There is also frass expelled from external openings of the larval galleries. Larvae from different generations can develop on the same place during successive years. In this case, large external openings are formed at the points of infection (see Pictures).

Severe infestations of the trees can result in stem breakage under wind impact.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Roots / internal feeding
Stems / galls
Stems / internal feeding
Stems / lodging; broken stems
Stems / visible frass

Biology and Ecology

Top of page P. tabaniformis requires 1 or 2 years to complete its life cycle. It has a 2-year cycle of development in northern parts of its geographical distribution (Northern Europe and Siberia) (Grechkin and Vorontzov, 1962; Srot, 1966; Vuola and Korpela, 1977; Postner, 1978) and a 1-year cycle in southern parts: Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Southern France (Templado, 1964), Italy (Bertucci, 1986), Greece (Georgopulos, 1956), Bulgaria (Georgiev, 1995b), Romania (Ceianu et al., 1967), Serbia (Jodal, 1967), Poland (Schnaiderova, 1980), Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Northern Kazakhstan (Turundaevskaya, 1981). In Hungary, some of the P. tabaniformis population is univoltine, and the rest takes 2 years to complete its development (Szontagh, 1965b). In North America, P. tabaniformis has a 2-year cycle of development (Eichlin and Duckworth, 1988).

In southern parts of its range, P. tabaniformis adults emerge from May to July or August (Ceianu et al., 1967; Arru and Lapietra, 1974; Turundaevskaya, 1981; Bertucci, 1986; Georgiev, 1995b). In the Netherlands, flight is observed from the end of May or early June until mid September (Moraal et al., 1988). Although the emergence period is very long (about 2-3 months; Moraal et al., 1988; Georgiev, 1995b), 60-90% of adults have been observed to appear in 20-30 days (Srot, 1966; Ceianu et al., 1967; Georgiev, 1995b). Adults emerge during the daytime from about 7.00 to 18.00 h, peaking between 9.00 and 13.00 h (Ceianu et al., 1967; Georgiev, 1995a). The sex ratio is usually 1:1. Adults visit flowers to obtain nectar and are observed on Taraxacum officinale (Turundaevskaya, 1981), Sambucus ebulus, Spiraea sp., Ligustrum, Valeriana spp. and Vincetoxicum hirundinaria (de Freina, 1997). The adults live 6-13 days (Turundaevskaya, 1981).

Some hours after emergence, female adults commence 'calling' behaviour (the act of emitting a sex pheromone to lure males for mating) (see Pictures). Copulation is observed in the daytime (13.00-19.00 h), peaking between 14.00 and 16.00 h (Georgiev, 1995a).

Female fecundity varies between 50 and 600 eggs, with an average of 310-360 (Ceianu et al., 1967; Turundaevskaya, 1981; Georgiev, 1995a). The females emerge mature, and oviposition begins soon after mating. The eggs are laid singly on the stems or branches near bark scars or crevices in the bark or are dropped near the base of the plant. The embryonic period lasts 10-15 days (Ceianu et al., 1967; Bertucci, 1986; Georgiev, 1995a). After hatching, the larvae cannot bore through the rough bark but find ready access to the cambium through wounds. The neonates can cover distances up to 137 cm to find a place to invade the tree (Moraal, 1989). If the hatching larvae cannot quickly locate a suitable entry point, they will soon desiccate; dry climate during the embryonic stage can cause mortality of up to 90% of the insect population (Ceianu et al., 1967). The larvae feed at first on inner bark, boring later into the wood-producing galleries. Frass is expelled from galleries through the entrance holes. Sometimes P. tabaniformis larvae are found in twig galls caused by Saperda populnea (Strojny, 1958).

The larvae have six or seven stages (Turundaevskaya, 1981). They overwinter in the third to fifth stages, and rarely in the sixth stage (Georgiev, 1995a). After hibernating during the winter, the larvae feed again and become fully grown in early spring. At the end of larval development, galleries reach up to 11-15 cm. However, the galleries in the stems of one-year-old poplar seedlings are longer than the galleries in the stems and branches of the oldest trees (see Pictures).

When the eggs are placed in bark crevices near ground level, newly hatched larvae bore in the roots or inside the bark. They make tunnels in the wood or between bark and wood.

P. tabaniformis mature larvae pupate in chambers in larval galleries. The pupae are observed in the heart of one-year-old poplar seedlings or under the bark of stems and branches of oldest trees (Georgiev, 1995a). Pupation occurs mostly in the upper parts of larval galleries over the entrance holes. Before pupating, the larvae bore lateral exit holes covered only by a very thin layer of wood and bark particles. They do not make cocoons. The pupal development lasts for 20-24 days at 16-18°C or 13-16 days at 22-25°C (Georgiev, 1995a).

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Apanteles paranthreneus Parasite Larvae
Beauveria bassiana Pathogen Larvae
Bracon discoideus Parasite Larvae
Bracon fulvipes Parasite Larvae
Diadegma terebrans Parasite Larvae
Dolichogenidea evonymellae Parasite Larvae
Hyssopus grossoris Parasite
Leskia aurea Parasite Larvae
Pristomerus rufiabdominalis Parasite Larvae
Pristomerus vulnerator Parasite Larvae
Steinernema carpocapsae Parasite
Steinernema feltiae Parasite
Telenomus phalaenarum Parasite Eggs

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page The complex of natural enemies of P. tabaniformis includes predators, parasitoids and micropathogens.

Among the predators, some woodpeckers are the most important in reducing P. tabaniformis populations (Szontagh, 1965a; Ceianu et al., 1967). In poplar nurseries the mortality of P. tabaniformis caused by woodpeckers reaches about 67-93% of the overwintering population of the pest (Georgiev, 1995a). The action of the woodpeckers, however, could be harmful because they destroy the poplar stems (Srot, 1966; Ceianu et al., 1967).

The egg parasitoid Telenomus phalaenarum was observed in the Netherlands in a poplar plantation adjacent to a mixed forest (Moraal, 1989a). No parasitoids have been found in large poplar plantations (Moraal, 1996).

Thirty-seven hymenopteran and dipteran larval and nymphal parasitoids of P. tabaniformis have been established and reported by many authors (e.g. Thompson, 1957; Srot, 1958, 1966; Gyorfi, 1959, 1963; Ceballos, 1960; Ceianu, 1962; Grechkin and Vorontzov, 1962; Kailidis, 1962, 1970; Szontagh, 1965a, 1971; Ceianu et al., 1967; Lapietra, 1967; Postner, 1978; Bertucci, 1986; Tobias, 1986; Moraal, 1987; You et al., 1987; La Salle and Huang, 1994; Georgiev and Tsankov, 1995; Hubenov and Georgiev, 1996; Kolarov and Georgiev, 1997; Georgiev, 2000a, b, 2001a, b, c). The genera Dolichomitus, Lissonata, Apanteles and Bracon all include several species parasitic on P. tabaniformis.

Some parasitoid species play an important role as biocontrol agents of P. tabaniformis. There is only scarce information about the biology and ecology of the parasitoids in the entomological literature.

Apanteles evonymellae [Dolichogenidea evonymellae] is found in all areas studied in Bulgaria (Georgiev, 2001a). It is a solitary endoparasitoid and develops in early-stage (first- to fourth-instar) host larvae and overwinters as a larva in the host. The species is bivoltine, but only the second generation is associated with P. tabaniformis. The life cycle of A. evonymellae is not well synchronized with P. tabaniformis larval development. In the spring the adult parasitoids appear in April about a month prior to emergence of P. tabaniformis and must develop in alternate hosts. Prior to their death, parasitized P. tabaniformis larvae construct conical structures, 'refuges' of frass and silk threads over the external openings of the larval galleries (see Pictures). A. evonymellae pupates in these refuges after the host's death (see Pictures). This modified behaviour of the parasitized host larvae probably protects the pupae of A. evonymellae from hyperparasites and predators. A. evonymellae kills 2-35% of overwintering host larvae in various regions of Bulgaria (Georgiev, 2001a). Very high levels (55-60%) of parasitism caused by this species are also observed in the Netherlands (Moraal, 1989b, 1996).

Eriborus terebrans [Diadegma terebrans] was observed for the first time as a parasitoid of P. tabaniformis by Ceianu (1962). In Italy it parasitizes an average of 50% of P. tabaniformis larvae in some areas of the Po basin (Lapietra, 1967). This species is a solitary internal parasitoid which develops two generations per year in mid-stage host larvae (Georgiev, 2001b). E. terebrans pupates in the larval galleries (see Pictures). Adult parasitoids of the overwintering generation appear between late April/early May, and June or July. The peak activity of E. terebrans adults coincides only with the beginning of host emergence, which results in low levels of parasitism. Parasitoid adults of the summer generation appear in late June-mid August. In this period enough larvae of the host are suitable for attacking and parasitism reaches about 24-39% at some sites in Bulgaria. Some parasitized P. tabaniformis larvae construct tunnel structures of frass and silk threads over the external openings of the galleries (see Pictures). It is possible that these structures also protect parasitoid cocoons from natural enemies.

Pristomerus rufiabdominalis and P. vulnerator are solitary internal parasitoids of P. tabaniformis (Georgiev, 2001c). Their life cycles are not in good synchrony with host larval development. In the spring the parasitoids appear in late May-early June and their flight periods usually considerably precede the adult emergence of the host. Both Pristomerus species are bivoltine, but only one generation of the parasitoids is connected with P. tabaniformis. The more important species, P. vulnerator, kills 2-15% of the pest larvae.

Other parasitoid species have also been observed to kill a significant portion of the P. tabaniformis larval population. In Greece, Bracon fulvipes is sometimes able to destroy 10-65% of the host larvae, and Apantales laevigatus [Dolichogenidea laevigata] 10-50% of the larvae (Kailidis, 1962). In Romania, B. discoideus parasitises up to 35% of P. tabaniformis larvae (Ceianu et al., 1967).

The remaining parasitoids are not very important enemies of P. tabaniformis and together they usually kill no more than 5-11% of the pest (Szontagh, 1965b; Ceianu et al., 1967; Turundaevskaya, 1981; Georgiev and Tsankov, 1995; Georgiev, 2000b).

P. tabaniformis larvae are affected by the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana. Injection of a conidial suspension into the entrance boreholes of P. tabaniformis gives 50% field control in Italy (Cavalcaselle, 1975) and 94-98% laboratory and field control in Poland (Schnaiderowa and Swiezynska, 1977). In floodplain habitats the larvae of P. tabaniformis are infected by Fusarium sp., Aspergillus sp. and Penicillium sp. (Turundaevskaya, 1981).

Introduction of a suspension of the nematode Neoaplectana carpocapsae [Steinernema carpocapsae] into larval boreholes of P. tabaniformis results in 97.5-100% mortality of the pest (Wouters, 1977; Cavalcaselle and Deseo, 1984).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page Adults of P. tabaniformis are good fliers but almost nothing is known about the flight distances of the female adults. According to Moraal et al. (1993), however, the females can fly over short distances of at least 250 m from infested poplar stands to attack newly planted poplars.

Long-distance spread occurs through silvicultural practices or commercial movement of infested poplar seedlings for planting (Georgiev, 1995a; Moraal, 1996).

Poplar wood is not considered to present a likely pathway for spread to new areas.

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Bark eggs Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches eggs; larvae; nymphs; pupae Yes Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Wood larvae; nymphs; pupae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Fruits (inc. pods)
Seedlings/Micropropagated plants
True seeds (inc. grain)

Wood Packaging

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Wood Packaging not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Loose wood packing material
Processed or treated wood
Solid wood packing material with bark
Solid wood packing material without bark


Top of page In Southern and Central Europe, P. tabaniformis is the principal xylophagous insect pest in poplar nurseries and young plantations (Ceianu et al., 1968; Kailidis, 1970; Arru, 1975). It is considered to be responsible for about 10% of total damage to production (Szontagh, 1965b). When outbreaks occur the pest is able to infest up to 40% of 1-year-old poplar seedlings in nurseries, which must be destroyed (Georgiev, 1995a).

Environmental Impact

Top of page P. tabaniformis occurs in natural poplar and willow stands, poplar plantations and urban systems. Infested host plants produce characteristic swellings and deformations. The impact of the pest on the natural environment is not significant, but could result in strong aesthetic damage to young ornamental poplar trees in settlements (Georgiev, 2000a).

Detection and Inspection

Top of page Poplar stems and branches must be examined carefully for galls, larval entrance holes with expelled frass, and for adult exit holes with pupal skins.

In poplar nurseries and plantations, pheromone traps baited with synthetic sex attractants can be set, to determine the emergence time of the pest. Sex attractant dispensers containing 1 mg (3E, 13Z)-3, 13-octadecadien-1-ol have been established to be very effective (Voerman and Wouters, 1980; Moraal et al., 1993). The dispensers retain their effectiveness for at least 2 months. Monitoring can be accomplished with sticky traps (Voerman and Wouters, 1980; Allegro, 1992; Moraal et al., 1993) and 'lure and kill' devices (Moraal et al., 1993). The traps must be set before the beginning of P. tabaniformis adult emergence. It is important to note that in young poplars males fly at lower levels, up to 3.0 m, but in old stands the number of males captured increases with increasing height of the traps (Moraal et al., 1993).

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page The West Palaearctic species Paranthrene insolita and P. diaphana and the Nearctic P. dollii are similar in the adult stage. Characters distinguishing them from P. tabaniformis can be found mainly in genitalia and in superficial colour and pattern.

The damage caused by P. tabaniformis on branches of young poplar trees could be confused with the damage caused by Saperda populnea. However, P. tabaniformis galls are situated mostly on the stems and are without the horseshoe-shaped furrows made by adult females of S. populnea before they start laying eggs.

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.

Phytosanitary and Preventive Measures

Effective preventive chemical control of P. tabaniformis in nurseries is required (Moraal, 1996). Preventive measures are to provide winter inspection of all planting stock and destruction of infested material (Dafauce, 1962), to plant poplar seedlings on uninfested sites and to keep the trees vigorous by means of fertilizer application and control of foliage pests (Bertucci, 1986). Another preventive measure is to avoid wounding of the trees which makes them more attractive for depositing eggs of the pest. Pruning of trees should not be carried out prior to or during the P. tabaniformis flight period (Georgiev, 1995a; Moraal, 1996).

Host-Plant Resistance

Field studies on poplar infestations by P. tabaniformis have found no resistant poplar species or clones (Ceianu et al., 1967; Lapietra, 1976; Georgiev, 1995a). Although differences in attack rates have been observed, there is no statistically reliable data to designate clones which are more or less resistant to the pest attack (Moraal, 1996). Fast-growing poplars are thought to be more tolerant because larval galleries are overgrown more rapidly and the risk of stem-snapping decreases strongly. This can be achieved by planting in suitable locations and using clones which are known to be rapid starters.

Biological Control

Although the pathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana and pathogenic nematode Neoaplectana carpocapsae [Steinernema carpocapsae] have been tested successfully against P. tabaniformis (Cavalcaselle, 1975; Schnaiderowa and Swiezynska, 1977; Wouters, 1977; Cavalcaselle and Deseo, 1984), practical methods for biological control of the pest have still not been achieved.

Parasitoids of P. tabaniformis appear to be the major biotic factor in maintaining low pest population density (Georgiev, 2000a, 2001a, b, c). They may be a very promising tool in devising a strategy for management of the pest. Some biological characteristics, such as freedom from any hyperparasites, and appearance before the host, can increase the beneficial impact of the parasitoids in poplar plantations. For example, it is well known that the most important parasitoids emerge about a month before P. tabaniformis (Georgiev and Tsankov, 1995; Georgiev, 2001a,b,c) and if some pest control against other pests in this period is needed, it is advisable to use selective larval insecticides. In this way, the flying adult parasitoids will not be affected and can exert an additional impact on the pest. In poplar nurseries, seedlings infested by xylophagous insects are usually burnt. It would be better, however, to put the cuttings with P. tabaniformis larvae in containers covered by plastic netting with 5x5 mm mesh-openings. The net will contain the pest moths but will let the parasitoid adults through, which will increase the sustainability of poplar stands.

Chemical Control

Chemical control of P. tabaniformis can be achieved by injections of insecticides into larval galleries, spraying of poplar stems and branches, and application of granular systemic insecticides to the soil.

Introduction or injection of insecticides such as dimethoate, fenvalerate, deltamethrin, or cypermethrin at high rates into larval galleries in July and August can be highly effective in small tree stands (Dafauce and Astiaso, 1964; Vasiæ, 1967; Bertucci, 1986). However, this method is not used yet in practice because it is too expensive in comparison with traditional sprayings.

Chemical control of P. tabaniformis is usually based on three to four sprayings at 15-day intervals starting from mid-June at the beginning of larval hatching (Lapietra and Allegro, 1994).

In strongly damaged poplar plantations, three treatments at 4- to 5-weekly intervals with persistant insecticides such as fenthion and dimethoate gives high mortality (95-100%) of newly hatched larvae (Ceianu et al., 1973; Dafauce, 1975; Georgiev, 1995b). However, these insecticides are strongly toxic and not selective, and affect not only the pest, but also many beneficial insects (bees, parasitoids and predators). Five treatments with pyrethroids from early June to early August also give complete control (Wouters, 1979).

Granular systemic insecticides (e.g. dimethoate) applied to soil have some positive effects against P. tabaniformis (Ceianu et al., 1973; Lapietra, 1978; Moraal, 1989b). However, they cannot be recommended for insect control because of their insufficient and unstable effect.

Mass Trapping

In China, mass trapping of male adults using sex pheromones has been successfully applied to control P. tabaniformis (Du et al., 1985; Miao et al., 1987; Wu et al., 1987; Zhao and Li, 1989). According to Du et al. (1985), mass trapping results in 57-95% pest reduction in the next generation of the pest. Fifteen to thirty traps/ha are necessary in lightly to heavily damaged forests. According to Moraal et al. (1993), however, mass trapping is not efficient in preventing pest attacks.


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