Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Tetropium castaneum
(black spruce beetle)



Tetropium castaneum (black spruce beetle)


  • Last modified
  • 16 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Tetropium castaneum
  • Preferred Common Name
  • black spruce beetle
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • There is no evidence to suggest that T. castaneum will be invasive once it is established outside its native range.

Don't need the entire report?

Generate a print friendly version containing only the sections you need.

Generate report


Top of page
Adult longhorn beetle. (Museum set specimen)
CaptionAdult longhorn beetle. (Museum set specimen)
Copyright©Rune Axelsson
Adult longhorn beetle. (Museum set specimen)
AdultAdult longhorn beetle. (Museum set specimen)©Rune Axelsson


Top of page

Preferred Scientific Name

  • Tetropium castaneum (Linnaeus, 1758)

Preferred Common Name

  • black spruce beetle

Other Scientific Names

  • Cerambyx castaneus Linnaeus, 1758
  • Cerambyx luridus Linnaeus, 1767
  • Isarthron castaneum

International Common Names

  • French: callidie de l'épicéa

Local Common Names

  • Denmark: alm. granbarbuk
  • Finland: kiiltävä kuusijäärä
  • Germany: Bock, Fichtensplint-; Bock, Gemeiner Fichten-; Bockkäfer, Fichtensplint-; Bockkäfer, Gemeiner Fichten-
  • Italy: cerambice dell'abete rosso
  • Norway: svart granbarkbukk
  • Sweden: allmän barkbock

EPPO code

  • TETOCA (Tetropium castaneum)

Summary of Invasiveness

Top of page There is no evidence to suggest that T. castaneum will be invasive once it is established outside its native range.

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Coleoptera
  •                         Family: Cerambycidae
  •                             Genus: Tetropium
  •                                 Species: Tetropium castaneum


Top of page Cherepanov (1990) published complete descriptions of the morphological features of the adults, larvae and pupae.

The adults of T. castaneum are 8-19 mm long. There is a short, silvery pubescence on the elytra and abdomen (Bílý and Mehl, 1989; Cherepanov, 1990), and the body is covered with a relatively sparse punctuation. The antennae are thick, relative to congeners, and reach midway down the elytra (Cherepanov, 1990). The body of T. castaneum is black, and the antennae, legs and elytra are reddish-brown to black (Bílý and Mehl, 1989; Cherepanov, 1990). The darker forms predominate at higher altitudes (Cherepanov, 1990).

The oval eggs are white, 1.2 mm long and 0.5 mm wide (Cherepanov, 1990). The larvae and pupae of Tetropium spp. are difficult to distinguish without technical expertise. In general, the larvae are whitish, with rusty-brown heads and rusty setae covering the body (Cherepanov, 1990). The mature larvae are 18-22 mm long and the head capsule is 3.5 mm wide (Cherepanov, 1990). The whitish pupae are 12-19 mm long and up to 4 mm wide (Cherepanov, 1990).


Top of page

T. castaneum is native to Europe and Asia (Bílý and Mehl, 1989; Cherepanov, 1990; APHIS, 2003). Its range extends west to the UK and east to Japan, and from Northern Siberia to the Hunan Province, China (APHIS, 2003).

This pest has been introduced many times to North America over the past 10 years (since the 1990s). In Canada, interceptions were made in British Columbia, Ottawa and Quebec, in shipments of Abies wood and other wood material originating in Germany and Italy (CFIA, 2002; Humble et al., 2002). In the USA, T. castaneum was intercepted at Oregon in wood originating in Russia (OISC, 2003).

Distribution Table

Top of page

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


ChinaWidespreadNativeAPHIS, 2003
JapanWidespreadNative Not invasive APHIS, 2003
KazakhstanWidespreadNative Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
Korea, DPRWidespreadNative Not invasive Bílý & Mehl, 1989
Korea, Republic ofWidespreadNative Not invasive Bílý & Mehl, 1989
MongoliaWidespreadNative Not invasive Bílý & Mehl, 1989

North America

-British ColumbiaAbsent, intercepted onlyIntroduced1994 Not invasive Humble et al., 2002
-Nova ScotiaAbsent, invalid recordCanadian Food Inspection Agency, 2012, personal communication; Locke, 2001
-OntarioAbsent, intercepted onlyIntroduced1999 Not invasive CFIA, 2002
-QuebecAbsent, intercepted onlyIntroduced1999 Not invasive CFIA, 2002
-OregonAbsent, intercepted onlyIntroduced2002 Not invasive APHIS, 2003; OISC, 2003


AlbaniaWidespreadNative2002 Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
AustriaWidespreadNative2002 Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
BelarusWidespreadNative2002 Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
BelgiumWidespreadNative2002 Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
Bosnia-HercegovinaWidespreadNative2002 Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
BulgariaWidespreadNative2002 Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
CroatiaWidespreadNative2002 Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
Czech RepublicWidespreadNative2002 Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
DenmarkWidespreadNative2002 Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
EstoniaWidespreadNative2002 Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
FinlandWidespreadNative2002 Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
FranceWidespreadNative2002 Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
GermanyWidespreadNative Not invasive CFIA, 2002; Danilevsky, 2003
GreeceWidespreadNative Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
HungaryWidespreadNative Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
ItalyWidespreadNative Not invasive CFIA, 2002; Danilevsky, 2003
LatviaWidespreadNative Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
LithuaniaWidespreadNative Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
LuxembourgWidespreadNative Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
MoldovaWidespreadNative Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
NetherlandsWidespreadNative Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
NorwayWidespreadNative Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
PolandWidespreadNative Not invasive Zielinski, 1998; Danilevsky, 2003
RomaniaWidespreadNative Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
Russian FederationPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Central RussiaWidespreadNative Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
-Eastern SiberiaWidespreadNative Not invasive APHIS, 2003
-Northern RussiaWidespreadNative Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
-Russian Far EastWidespreadNative Not invasive APHIS, 2003
-Southern RussiaWidespreadNative Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
-Western SiberiaWidespreadNative Not invasive APHIS, 2003
SerbiaWidespreadNative Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
SlovakiaWidespreadNative Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
SloveniaWidespreadNative Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
SpainWidespreadNative Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
SwedenWidespreadNative Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
SwitzerlandWidespreadNative Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003
UKWidespreadIntroduced Not invasive Bílý & Mehl, 1989; Danilevsky, 2003
UkraineWidespreadNative Not invasive Danilevsky, 2003

Risk of Introduction

Top of page T. castaneum is a pest of quarantine significance in Canada (CFIA, 2003).

Habitat List

Top of page

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page The preferred hosts of T. castaneum in Europe appear to be spruce (Picea) trees (Lekander et al., 1977), although it will attack pine (Pinus), fir (Abies), larch (Larix), and to a lesser extent, oak (Quercus), maple (Acer) and walnut (Juglans) (Bílý and Mehl, 1989; Cherepanov, 1990; APHIS, 2003). This species typically attacks weakened or dead trees in its native range. T. castaneum has been reported as feeding on at least the following species: Picea abies (Johansson et al., 1994), Pinus sibirica, Abies sibirica, Picea obovata, Larix sibirica and Pinus sylvestris (Cherepanov, 1990).

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

Top of page
Plant nameFamilyContext
Abies (firs)PinaceaeMain
Abies sibirica (Siberian fir)PinaceaeMain
Acer (maples)AceraceaeOther
Juglans (walnuts)JuglandaceaeOther
Larix (larches)PinaceaeOther
Larix sibirica (Siberian larch)PinaceaeOther
Picea (spruces)PinaceaeMain
Picea abies (common spruce)PinaceaeMain
Picea obovata (Siberian spruce)PinaceaeMain
Pinus (pines)PinaceaeMain
Pinus sibirica (Siberian stone pine)PinaceaeMain
Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine)PinaceaeOther
Quercus (oaks)FagaceaeOther

Growth Stages

Top of page Post-harvest


Top of page T. castaneum has only been reported as feeding on dead or dying trees. For this reason, the symptoms historically observed with this pest are restricted to dead wood material. A congener, Tetropium fuscum, has been reported as feeding on living trees in North America and should T. castaneum move onto living trees, the symptoms would probably be similar to those caused by T. fuscum (CAB International, 2003).

Larval damage occurs as tunnels/galleries in the cambium and phloem of the infested wood. These galleries are a maximum width of 6 mm and are packed with brown frass. As the larva matures, it tunnels up to 5 cm into the xylem of the wood and creates an oval pupation chamber. Wood-staining fungi in the genus, Ophiostoma, are associated with larval tunnels and pupal chambers of Tetropium spp. (Jacobs et al., 2003).

List of Symptoms/Signs

Top of page
SignLife StagesType
Stems / internal discoloration
Stems / internal feeding
Whole plant / frass visible
Whole plant / internal feeding

Biology and Ecology

Top of page Oviposition occurs in the cracks and crevices of the bark (Bílý and Mehl, 1989). Tree stumps and injured, sick or recently felled trees are preferred oviposition sites (Bílý and Mehl, 1989). The eggs are generally laid singly (Cherepanov, 1990). Dissections of the females revealed egg loads of 76-142 mature eggs per female (Cherepanov, 1990).

After 2-3 weeks, the larvae hatch and tunnel in the inner bark and cambium of the tree (Bílý and Mehl, 1989; Cherepanov, 1990). Wavy galleries are created and packed with brown frass (Bílý and Mehl, 1989). The mature larvae bore up to 4.5-5.0 cm into the wood (Cherepanov, 1990). Larval weights range from 32 to 269 mg (mean of 110 mg) (Cherepanov, 1990). The larvae can often be found inhabiting the same trees as other species of wood-boring insects (Cherepanov, 1990).

Pupation occurs in May in northern Europe and Asia (Bílý and Mehl, 1989; Cherepanov, 1990). When it is ready to pupate, the larva creates a pupal cell (38-40 mm long and 6 mm wide) and the larval gallery leading into the cell is packed with white frass and wood shavings (Bílý and Mehl, 1989; Cherepanov, 1990). The pupal stage lasts from 3 to 4 weeks and the pupae weigh 26-245 mg (mean of 99 mg) (Cherepanov, 1990). The pupal cell is created in the sapwood or the bark of the tree. It is curved and at a right angle to the trunk (Bílý and Mehl, 1989; Cherepanov, 1990). In tree stumps, the larvae pupate in the exposed roots or in the base (Bílý and Mehl, 1989).

The populations of adults in Norway emerge in two distinct periods, one in early spring and one in mid-summer (Johansson et al., 1994). These two emergence dates are likely to be representatives of populations that are univoltine and those that require 2 years for development (Johansson et al., 1994). The result is that the flight period of T. castaneum in its native range, lasts from May to September (Cherepanov, 1990). The majority of adults (around 98%) are captured during June and July in Siberia (Cherepanov, 1990). The beetles weigh 18-175 mg (mean of 77 mg) (Cherepanov, 1990). They are generally active at dusk and at night, and during the day the adults hide under the crevices of bark (Bílý and Mehl, 1989). The entire life cycle requires 1 to 2 years (Bílý and Mehl, 1989; Johansson et al., 1994).

Natural enemies

Top of page
Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Billaea triangulifera Parasite
Choerades gilva Predator Larvae

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page One species of asilid, Laphria gilva [Choerades gilva] feeds as a larva on T. castaneum and Tetropium fuscum larvae in their native ranges (Lavigne et al., 2000).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page T. castaneum is an excellent flier, and is often one of the first insects to colonize fallen spruce in Norway (Johansson et al., 1994). There are apparently no specific measurements of the dispersal capacity of T. castaneum.

Plant Trade

Top of page
Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Bark eggs Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches eggs; larvae; pupae Yes Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Wood larvae; 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)
Growing medium accompanying plants
Seedlings/Micropropagated plants
True seeds (inc. grain)

Wood Packaging

Top of page
Wood Packaging liable to carry the pest in trade/transportTimber typeUsed as packing
Solid wood packing material with bark Mostly softwood, but can infest some hardwoods Yes
Solid wood packing material without bark Mostly softwood, but can infest some hardwoods Yes
Wood Packaging not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Loose wood packing material
Processed or treated wood

Impact Summary

Top of page
Animal/plant collections None
Animal/plant products None
Biodiversity (generally) None
Crop production None
Environment (generally) None
Fisheries / aquaculture None
Forestry production None
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 There is no mention of economic damage resulting from infestations of T. castaneum in its native or introduced ranges. T. castaneum feeds exclusively as a secondary pest on dead or dying coniferous trees. Tunnelling into the xylem of the tree or staining, resulting from Ophiostoma spp. fungi, may devalue the wood, although there are no reports of this in the literature. It should be noted that a congener, Tetropium fuscum, also feeds almost exclusively on dead or dying trees in its native range, although the populations introduced into Nova Scotia, Canada, attack healthy trees (Smith and Humble, 2000).

Environmental Impact

Top of page T. castaneum is one of the more important insect pests encountered in Russian spruce forests that are damaged by fire or weather (Kulikova, 2001) and it is one of the first insects to colonize fallen trees in Norwegian spruce plantations (Johansson et al., 1994). Thus, it appears that T. castaneum fulfils an important role in the decomposition of trees in its natural habitat. It is unclear how T. castaneum will interact with a recipient biota.

Detection and Inspection

Top of page In Oregon, T. castaneum adults were captured in Lindgren funnels with a lure containing a spruce blend and ethanol (APHIS, 2003). In its native range, Johansson et al. (1994) used trap logs of spruce to capture T. castaneum. There is now an interest shown in developing lures and attractants for the invasive, Tetropium fuscum, which may also be useful in sampling T. castaneum.

In infested wood, the bark should be removed to aid searching for larval tunnelling. These tunnels meander through the cambium and phloem, are tightly packed with frass and a maximum width of 6 mm. The mature larvae tunnel into the xylem and form a pupation chamber up to 5 cm into the wood. The adult exit holes are approximately 4 mm in diameter and can be seen externally on the surface of the wood.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page There are 17 species worldwide in the genus Tetropium (Bílý and Mehl, 1989), seven of which are found in the Palearctic and six inhabit the Nearctic (Cherepanov, 1990). T. castaneum can be distinguished from the invasive Tetropium fuscum because the elytra of T. castaneum are of a single colour and the antennae are relatively thick in T. castaneum. Also, the disc of the pronotum on T. castaneum is relatively lustrous without considerable punctuation, whereas in T. fuscum the disc is fairly rugose.

Prevention and Control

Top of page

Solid wood packing material should be treated as detailed in CFIA (2003); either by heat-treating the wood material at 56ºC for at least 30 minutes.


Top of page

APHIS, 2003. National exotic woodborer/bark beetle survey plan 2003/2004. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USA.

Bíl8 S; Mehl O, 1989. Longhorn Beetles (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. Lieden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill/Scandinavian Science Press Ltd. Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica, Vol. 22.

CFIA, 2002. Intercepted plant pests 1997-2000. Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Ottawa Laboratory, Nepean Ottawa, Canada.

CFIA, 2003. Entry requirements for wood packaging produced in all areas other than the United States. Plant Health Division, Plant Products Directorate, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Nepean, Ontario, Canada. Publication no. D-98-08.

Danilevsky ML, 2003. Systematic list of longicorn beetles (Cerambycoidea: Coleoptera) of Europe.

Humble LM; Allen EA; Bell JD, 2002. Exotic wood-boring beetles in British Columbia: interceptions and establishments. Canadian Food Inspection Agency, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada.

Jacobs K; Siefert KA; Harrison KJ; Kirisits K, 2003. Identity and phylogenetic relationships of ophiostomatoid fungi associated with invasive and native Tetropium species (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) in Atlantic Canada. Canadian Journal of Botany, 81:316-329.

Johansson L; Andersen J; Nilssen AC, 1994. Distribution of bark insects in "island" plantations of spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) in subarctic Norway. Polar Biology, 14(2):107-116

Kulikova EG, 2001. Phytosanitary risks and wildlife damage. Proceedings of the Annual Conference on Risk Management and Sustainable Forestry, 8 September 2001, Bordeaux, France.

Lavigne R; Dennis S; Gowen JA, 2000. Asilid literature update, 1956-1976. Laramie, WY, USA: Cooperative Extension Service, University of Wyoming, SM-36.

Lekander B; Bejer-Petersen B; Kangas E; Bakke A, 1977. The distribution of bark beetles in the Nordic countries. Acta Entomologica Fennica, No. 32:37 pp.

Locke S, 2001. Brown spruce longhorn beetle Tetropium fuscum (Fabricius).

OISC, 2003. Invasive species in Oregon report card 2002. Oregon Invasive Species Council, Oregon Department of Agriculture, Salem, OR, USA.

Smith GA; Humble LM, 2000. The brown spruce longhorn borer. Victoria, BC, Canada: Exotic Forest Pest Advisory, Natural Resources Canada, Canada Forest Service.

Sweeney JD; Silk PJ; Gutowski JM; Wu JunPing; Lemay MA; Mayo PD; Magee DI, 2010. Effect of chirality, release rate, and host volatiles on response of Tetropium fuscum (F.), Tetropium cinnamopterum Kirby, and Tetropium castaneum (L.) to the aggregation pheromone, fuscumol. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 36(12):1309-1321.

UK CAB International, 2009. Tetropium fuscum ((Fabricius, 1787)), brown spruce longhorn beetle. [pest/pathogen]. Crop Protection Compendium, AQB CPC record. Wallingford, UK: CAB International, Sheet 2488.

Zielinski S, 1998. As cited at Cerambyicidae of the Drawa National Park.

Distribution Maps

Top of page
You can pan and zoom the map
Save map