Early detection of the invasive Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) by detection of infestation-specific volatile organic compounds

The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) Anoplophora glabripennis [Motschulsky 1853] belongs to the family Cerambycidae and is a wood-boring beetle native to south-east Asia, where it is one of the most dangerous forest pest insects. Due to international commodity trading, ALB was introduced as adults and larvae in wooden packaging material into several Asian, European and North-American countries, where it was able to reproduce and spread successfully. For the United States of America the damage reached up to now some billion US$. In case of an uninhibited spread it is estimated to be some hundred billion US$.
Beside findings of single beetles in Poland, United Kingdom and Germany, infestation sites were detected 2000 in Austria, 2003 and 2004 in France and 2007 in Italy. In Germany infestation sites have been found in 2004 and 2005. Eradication of ALB is extremely difficult. In spite of seven years of intensive eradication measures in Braunau (Austria), new infestation sites have been found again in 2007.
A. glabripennis attacks most of the European, North-American, and Asian deciduous tree species. The larval tunnel can be up to 30 cm long and 3 cm in diameter. Infested trees get heavily damaged and die usually after several years of infestation. It is unlikely to detect infested trees before the adults hatch. The ALB is much more destructive than any other European wood-boring insect.
According to the larval damage ALB can be confused with the native wood borers Cossus cossus (European goat moth, Lepidoptera: Cossidae), Zeuzera pyrina (leopard moth, Lepidoptera: Cossidae) and Saperda carcharias (poplar long-horned beetle, Coleoptera: Cerambycidae).
Within this graduation project it will be analysed how far ...

  • the volatile organic compounds (VOC`s) of trees infested with A. glabripennis differ from healthy trees caused by the trees defense reactions and insect-specific metabolism products.
  • the VOC`s of trees infested with Saperda carcharias, Zeuzera pyrina and Cossus cossus differ from VOCs of trees infested with A. glabripennis.
  • specific antagonists orientate on infestation-induced VOC`s during host-finding and parasitization on larvae of A. glabripennis.

Anoplophora glabripennis

This project was supported by the graduation scholarship program of the German Federal Environment Foundation.
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