Aculops fuchsiae (Fuchsia gall mite)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Growth Stages
- List of Symptoms/Signs
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Plant Trade
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Detection and Inspection
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Aculops fuchsiae Keifer, 1972
Preferred Common Name
- Fuchsia gall mite
International Common Names
- English: Brazilian fuchsia mite; fuchsia mite
- French: galle du fuchsia; phytopte du fuchsia
- ACUPFU (Aculops fuchsiae)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
A. fuchsiae, the fuchsia gall mite, is native to South America. It was first found in California, USA in 1981 where it has spread rapidly, and more recently it has invaded Europe since 2003, and it is a declared quarantine pest in both. It attacks only fuchsia (Fuchsia spp.), but once established it is very difficult to eradicate and impacts can be so severe that some growers in California have given up growing the plants entirely.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Chelicerata
- Class: Arachnida
- Subclass: Acari
- Superorder: Acariformes
- Suborder: Prostigmata
- Family: Eriophyidae
- Genus: Aculops
- Species: Aculops fuchsiae
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
There and many and varied species in the Eriophyidae, but Aculops fuchsiae is not closely related to any of them.
DescriptionTop of page
A. fuchsiae is a typical eriophyid mite with a wormlike or fusiform body, colour in life light yellowish-white (CABI/EPPO, 1997). The adults are very small mites bearing only two anterior pairs of legs. The adult females measure 200-250 µm in length and 55-60 µm in width. In eriophyoids, the males are slightly smaller than the females. Morphological observation of the short and acuminate anterior shield lobe over the rostrum, which is truncate underneath, plus the granules on the shield surface that obscure the shield pattern on the rear part of the shield, characterize this species. The adult female stage morphological description is described by Keifer (1972).
The type locality is Campinas, Estado São Paulo, Brazil, and the type material was collected on November 10, 1971, by Carlos Jorge Rossetto, Instituto Agronomico on Fuchsia sp. (Onagraceae), as a type slide, with one of three paratype slides lodged with the Entomological Research Division, USDA, Beltsville, Maryland, USA.
DistributionTop of page
A. fuchsiae is of South American origin, the type specimen being from Sao Paulo state, Brazil, but it probably occurs more widely (CABI/EPPO, 1997). Where introduced in California, USA its distribution seems limited to the coastal range. For Europe, in France and the UK, the species is established in areas with oceanic climate. In Germany, with a more continental climate its establishment remains to be confirmed.
Distribution TableTop 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/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|USA||Restricted distribution||CABI/EPPO, 2009; EPPO, 2014|
|-California||Localised||Introduced||1981||Invasive||Koehler et al., 1985; CABI/EPPO, 2009; EPPO, 2014||From Mendocino to San Diego county|
|-Oregon||Localised||Introduced||Anderson and MacLeod, 2007||Intermittent, apparently unable to survive harsh winters|
|-Washington||Localised||Introduced||Anderson and MacLeod, 2007||Intermittent, apparently unable to survive harsh winters|
|Brazil||Restricted distribution||CABI/EPPO, 2009; EPPO, 2014|
|-Sao Paulo||Localised||Native||Not invasive||Keifer, 1972; CABI/EPPO, 2009; EPPO, 2014|
|Austria||Absent, no pest record||EPPO, 2014|
|France||Localised||Introduced||2002||Invasive||Streito et al., 2004; CABI/EPPO, 2009; EPPO, 2014||Presence in Brittany and spreading in adjacent regions. Under eradication|
|-France (mainland)||Present, few occurrences||CABI/EPPO, 2009|
|Germany||Transient: actionable, under eradication||Introduced||2005||Invasive||EPPO, 2008; CABI/EPPO, 2009; EPPO, 2014|
|Jersey||Restricted distribution||EPPO, 2014|
|Netherlands||Eradicated||EPPO, 2014; IPPC, 2016|
|UK||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Ostojá-Starzewski et al., 2007; IPPC, 2008; CABI/EPPO, 2009; EPPO, 2014; IPPC, 2015|
|-England and Wales||Present, few occurrences||CABI/EPPO, 2009; EPPO, 2014|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
A. fuchsiae, the fuchsia gall mite, was considered as invasive since it was recorded in San Francisco, California, USA in 1981, and its subsequent spread through the southern and northern parts of the state, advancing along some 900 km of coastal California in 4 years, in contrast to a slower spread inland (Koehler et al., 1985; CABI/EPPO, 1997). In 2003, there was the first official record for Europe, in Brittany, north-western France (Streito et al., 2004). It was subsequently reported from Germany in 2005 (EPPO reporting service, 2008/003), in Guernsey and Jersey in 2006 and in southern mainland UK (Hampshire and Middlesex) in 2007 (Ostojá-Starzewski et al., 2007), and is spreading in Brittany and further south in the Pays de la Loire (Anderson and MacLeod, 2007). A. fuchsiae is known only to attack Fuchsia spp. of which it is a major pest. It is a regulated pest for Europe, EPPO A2 and EU II/A1 quarantine lists.
There is no information on the pathway having allowed the introduction of A. fuchsiae in California. On the other hand, the introduction to France and Germany is thought to have been amateur gardeners bringing back infested cuttings from private visits to the USA, being first seen at the Festival de Tréverez in 2002 on a sample brought by a private collector (Streito et al., 2004; Anderson and MacLeod, 2007). The same reason appears to have allowed introduction to Jersey, UK with the inadvertent transport of infested cuttings directly from South America (EPPO Reporting service 2007/172), but the first outbreak in 2006 could have been due to natural dispersal from Brittany to the Channel Islands by wind or on insects or birds, or involuntary transport of clothing having been in contact with contaminated plants or exchanges between amateurs. The introduction to mainland UK could have been directly from North or South American origin, or from north-western France (Brittany) or the Channel Islands.
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|California||Brazil||1981||Yes||Koehler et al. (1985)|
|France||USA||2003||Yes||Streito et al. (2004)||Eradication program|
|Germany||USA||2005||No||EPPO (2008)||Eradication program|
|UK||2006/2007||Ostojá-Starzewski et al. (2007)||Eradication program|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
The spreading of A. fuchsiae in western European countries along the Atlantic coast; from France and the UK to Ireland and Spain seems inescapable by natural dispersal and could be accelerated by new imports of contaminated cuttings coming from North or South America, in spite of the programs of eradication set up. A. fuchsiae is listed as a quarantine pest for EPPO (A2) and EU (list IIA1).
HabitatTop of page
The mite is always associated with Fuchsia spp.; its habitat is thus linked with that of the fuchsias. There is no information on its habitat in its native area, and it must be able to develop in all the areas where fuchsia was introduced, always in connection with human activities. In temperate and Mediterranean Europe, it is very unlikely to find fuchsias apart from in anthropogenic areas. In France, Fuchsia magellanica is observed reproducing spontaneously in anthropogenic areas, Fuchsia arborescens is naturalized in Madeira, and Fuchsia boliviana in Madeira, the Azores and is present in the Canary Islands.
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial – Managed||Protected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production)||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Urban / peri-urban areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
A. fuchsiae is the only species of Eriophyidae developing on Fuchsia spp. Anderson and MacLeod (2007) state that more than 100 Fuchsia species are recorded mostly native to Central and South America, but also New Zealand and Tahiti with thousands of cultivars. However, only a relatively small number of these have been evaluated for their susceptibility to this pest. Those tested can be divided into groups based on their resistance to attack by the mite, into: very sensitive, sensitive, and resistant to highly resistant (Koehler et al., 1985).
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
|Fuchsia magellanica (Magellan fuchsia)||Onagraceae||Main|
|Fuchsia regia subsp. serrae||Onagraceae||Unknown|
Growth StagesTop of page Flowering stage, Vegetative growing stage
SymptomsTop of page
Infestation causes rusting and deformation of the leaves, galls becoming grotesquely swollen and blistered. The deformed tissues develop russeting or become reddened. These symptoms are most strongly expressed on the terminal shoots. The leaf galls resemble those of peach leaf curl (Taphrina deforans). Later the flowers become deformed and at the end all new growth ceases (CABI/EPPO, 1997).
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Growing point / discoloration|
|Growing point / distortion|
|Inflorescence / distortion (non-graminaceous plants)|
|Inflorescence / galls|
|Leaves / abnormal colours|
|Leaves / abnormal forms|
|Whole plant / plant dead; dieback|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
Little scientific data has been published on the biology of this mite, though the following information is available from CABI/EPPO (1997). However, the development of A. fuchsiae has not been described in detail, but it can be safely assumed that two nymphal stages precede the adult (CABI/EPPO, 1997). It is not known whether deuterogyny (the presence of two female forms in the life-cycle) occurs and only one type of female was described by Keifer (1972) (CABI/EPPO, 1997). The mites live and reproduce within the folds of galled tissue and among plant hairs, but not within the galls (Keesey, 1985). As the plants grow, the mites leave the galled area and move upwards to new growth. The female lays about 50 eggs at a time, which hatch after 7 days at 18°C, the life cycle completed in 21 days and there are several generations during the growing season. Although Keesey (1985) states that the mite does not hibernate, Crawford (1983) reported that it overwinters as immature and mature forms in bud scales, and Natter (1982) states that it overwinters as eggs. The mite tolerates a winter temperature of 5°C. In California, USA, evidence suggests that A. fuchsiae prefers cool temperatures, as it was difficult to inoculate plants in greenhouses, but relatively easy in the field implying that the mite is not favoured by hot conditions.
ClimateTop of page
|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||Tolerated||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers|
|Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter||Tolerated||Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)|
Natural enemiesTop of page
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
There are few data on natural enemies of A. fuchsiae. The phytoseiid mite Amblyseius (Neoseiulus) californicus has been found associated with A. fuchsiae in California, USA and was thought to be one of the predators responsible for some reduction in the mite populations (Koehler et al., 1985; CABI/EPPO, 1997).
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
The most likely pathways and rates of dispersal are: natural dispersal by wind at the local level; vector transmission by birds, insects (e.g. bees) at the local or national level; accidental introduction due to cuttings shared between amateur gardeners or illegal importation at the international level.
Pathway CausesTop of page
Pathway VectorsTop of page
|Clothing, footwear and possessions||Possible||Yes||Koehler et al., 1985|
|Host and vector organisms||Assumed possible on insects (e.g. bees) or birds||Yes||Koehler et al., 1985|
|Plants or parts of plants||On infested cuttings||Yes||Yes||Koehler et al., 1985|
|Wind||Yes||Koehler et al., 1985|
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx||larvae; nymphs||Yes||Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope|
|Leaves||larvae; nymphs||Yes||Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches||larvae; nymphs||Yes||Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope|
Impact SummaryTop of page
Economic ImpactTop of page
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Fast growing
- Has high reproductive potential
- Host damage
- Causes allergic responses
- Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
- Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
- Difficult to identify/detect in the field
DiagnosisTop of page
There is no developed diagnostic method. Symptoms on the plant point out the presence of the mite. Observation under a microscope is required for sampling specimens that will be cleared and mounted for high-power microscopic comparison with voucher specimens. This requirement can be moderated by the fact that A. fuchsiae is the only Eriophyidae that develops on Fuchsia.
Detection and InspectionTop of page
Look for any variation in coloration of the plant. The leaves start to redden and as populations of the mite increase, the leaves and flowers are deformed or galled. New galled leaf tissue is pale-green and rusted, and becomes reddened with time. Symptoms of infestation are most strongly expressed on the terminal shoots, and heavy infestation can stop all new growth. Examination with a hand lens should reveal the presence of the mite.
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
Keifer (1972) considered that no other species of Eriophyidae is very closely related, the nearest being Aculops mentzeliae from Arizona, USA that has a 5-rayed featherclaw like A. fuchsiae and relatively small anterior shield lobe, but, unlike A. fuchsiae, it has a solid central line system on the shield.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
In the Plant Health Directive (Council Directive 200/29/EC), A. fuchsiae is listed in Annex IIAI. Its introduction and spread is banned if found on plants or plants products, i.e. Fuchsia spp. intended for planting, other than seed. As it is present in France (Brittany), Germany, and the UK (England and the Channel Islands), it should technically be listed within Annex IIAII of 2000/29/EC, as the EPPO Council transferred it from A1 regulated list to A2 regulated list (pest present in the EPPO region). A. fuchsiae has a quarantine status (Class B) in California, USA (CABI/EPPO, 1997).
An awareness campaign should be useful that highlights the risk of introduction of the mite on cuttings from contaminated places, and should slow the spread of this mite.
Due to its quarantine status in California, as in Europe, authorities could take exclusion measures. For example, in France, a decree of 10 May, 2004 imposes infected material in all new discovered outbreaks. There is no currently effective treatment. In California, control attempts over the last 20 years failed. In Jersey, an eradication program has not been successful and the same will probably occur in France.
Preventing entry on unregulated pathways will not be possible, i.e. inadvertent transport on cuttings shared between amateur gardeners, dispersal by birds, pollinator organisms, bees or other insects. Prohibition of importation from infested areas seems appropriate. There is a need of plant passports and other phytosanitary measures to regulate the movement of Fuchsia spp. and its pests within all countries where the mite is present. Eradication has not been successful in California, USA or in Brittany, France, but official control measures can help to slow the spread of the pest. Treatments growers can use to control the mite are generally labour intensive and mites spreading from infested plants in an area will negate the positive efforts of those attempting control methods (see Bergquist, 2004; Syndor, 2004).
Neoseiulus californicus is marketed in Europe and according to the literature is a predator of A. fuchsiae (Koehler et al., 1985). However, this species is present in California, USA, but it does not seem to be enough to control the populations of the mite.
Good sanitation is an essential aspect of control (CABI/EPPO, 1997). Affected material should be removed and destroyed.
Diazinon, malathion, dicofol, propargite and fenbutatin oxide are reported to suppress mite numbers, while carbaryl keeps plants free from mites for many weeks. In an outdoor trial of more or less susceptible cultivars in which galled tissues were pruned, various combinations of carbaryl sprays (every 2 or 4 weeks) greatly improved the appearance of plants; although there appeared to be no advantage in spraying every 2 weeks as opposed to every 4 weeks (CABI/EPPO, 1997). For the less susceptible cultivars, pruning alone was moderately successful in maintaining a good appearance (Koehler et al., 1985). However, this information urgently requires updating.
In contaminated areas it is preferable to use species or cultivars recognized as resistant to highly resistant to attack by A. fuchsiae.
There is a need for developing IPM, knowledge on chemical control, and experimental data on the biology of the pest. A range of control methods were suggested by Anderson and MacLeod (2007), including:
1. Keep infested plants in a cool windless place and isolate them from other fuchsias if possible.
2. Maintain hygiene: change clothing, wash hands, clean shoes and clean tools with alcohol after contact with infested plants.
3. Prune and remove all infested parts of the plants and burn or destroy them. Do not compost them. Seal infested plants in a bag then place this in another bag for domestic waste disposal.
4. Spray remaining plants with an approved product, such as insecticidal soap.
5. Do not visit other Fuchsia growers, or exchange plant material.
6. Try to keep hardy Fuchsia varieties outside, colder weather may kill off the mites.
Gaps in Knowledge/Research NeedsTop of page
There is a need for a research program on the biology of this pest and a gap in knowledge on the situation under natural conditions in South America.
ReferencesTop of page
EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. http://www.eppo.int/DATABASES/pqr/pqr.htm
IPPC, 2015. Aculops fuchsiae - fushcia gall mite. IPPC Official Pest Report, No. GBR-06/3. Rome, Italy: FAO. https://www.ippc.int/
IPPC, 2016. First finding of Aculops fuchsiae in plants of Fuchsia in a private garden in Amsterdam. IPPC Official Pest Report, No. NLD-45/1. Rome, Italy: FAO. https://www.ippc.int/en/
Streito J-C; Coroller M-H; Kreiter S; Fletchmann CHW, 2004. [English title not available]. (Un nouvel acarien ravageur des fuchsias. Découverte en France d' Aculops fuhsiae, dont c'est le premier signalement en Europe) Phytoma-La défense des Végétaux, 572:32-34.
ContributorsTop of page
19/05/08 Original text by:
Jean Germain, Laboratoire National de la Protection des Vegetaux (LNPV), Unite d'Entomologie, 2 Place Viala, 34060 Montpellier Cedex 01, France
Distribution MapsTop of page
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