Биологические науки / 7. Зоология

Cand. Biol. Sci., docent N.N.Karpun, Cand. Horticult. Sci.Ye.A. Ignatova

The State Research Institution All–Russian Scientific and Research Institute of Floriculture and Subtropical Crops of the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Sochi, Russia, e-mail: nkolem@mail.ru



Abstract. The box tree moth (Cydalima perspectalis Walker) is noted for the first time on the Black Sea coast of Russia (Sochi) in summer of 2013. The pest damages only plants of Buxus sempervirens, causing its fast desiccation. Caterpillars of the first pest generation were noted in the second half of June, the second – at early and middle August. The flight of moths of the second generation was observed in the first ten-day period of September. Most likely this species got to the Black Sea coast of Russia together with a planting stock of Buxus sempervirens, delivered from the European nurseries.

Key words: Cydalima perspectalis, Pyraloidea, box tree (Buxus sempervirens), invasive species, pests, Black Sea coast of Russia.


The box tree moth (Cydalima perspectalis Walker, syn . Glyphodes perspectalis Walker, Neoglyphodes perspectalis Walker, Palpita perspectalis Walker, Diaphania perspectalis Walker) is a dangerous pest of the box tree, widely spread in Europe in recent years (Mally, Nuss, 2010; Slamka, 2010; Korycinska, Eyre, 2011; Sàfiàn, Horvàth, 2011; EPPO, 2011; Hizal, 2012; Koren, Crne, 2012; Seljak, 2012; Governatori, 2013; Ramel, 2013). China, Japan, Korea, the Russian Far East and India are homelands to the species (Определитель …, 2005; Mally, Nuss, 2010). In European countries and Turkey, the species damages only box tree (Buxus sempervirens, Buxus balearica, Buxus microphylla, Buxus sinica, Buxus colchica), causing significant harm to both park and natural lands, as well as complete defoliation and desiccation of plants. However, at home - in East Asia - the box tree moth is also found on euonymus (Euonymus japonicus and Euonomus alatus ) and Ilex pupurea  (Korycinska, Eyre, 2011; Hizal, 2012). It is known that in European countries the box tree moth can develop in 2 or 3 generations, the average duration of one generation is about 40 days (Korycinska, Eyre, 2011).

In recent decades, due to the active marketing of plants and plant material new types of pests and diseases have begun to appear in different countries. In this way, such species as Iceria purchase Maskell, Phthorimaea operculella Zell, Neopulvinaria imeretina Hadz., Dactylosphaera vitifoliae Fitch and others were once brought to the territory of Russia together with the planting stock (Ижевский, 2002а). In recent years, invasion of alien species has become a global environmental problem; it is named among the main factors leading to reduction of regional species diversity (Ижевский, 1995, 2002б).

The region of the Black Sea coast of Russia has actively been developed in recent years, which is attributed to the preparation for the XXII Winter Olympics 2014 and the development of Sochi as a mountain resort. Parks, public gardens, boulevards, streets and beaches are being actively improved at the moment. One of the sought-after crops in landscape gardening is Buxus sempervirens, planting stock of which is imported mainly from European countries such as Italy, Balkan Peninsula countries and others. This crop has been traditionally used in landscape gardening of Sochi for one and a half centuries as a skirting-plant and a solitaire. Currently, 17 cultivars and one variety of Buxus sempervirens are being cultivated (Карпун, 2003).

A strong desiccation of Buxus sempervirens was recorded all over the city of Sochi (from Adler to Lazarevsky districts) in middle August of 2013. Plants of different ages - from 5 to 70 years proved to be desiccation prone i.e. in both old plantings and newly landscaped objects.

Сhanges in the color of leaves and desiccation of plants parts or whole plants were very rapid. Dark green hairy caterpillars with large black heads were detected in Buxus sempervirens crowns. Young caterpillars feed on tissues of leaf blades, leaving the upper epidermis intact. Adult caterpillars eat leaves entirely, as well as the bark of branches. Leaves and stems of Buxus sempervirens are enmeshed in a friable web, on which there are excrements of caterpillars, their molted skins and black head sheaths.

The reason for such a rapid desiccation of Buxus sempervirens was the East Asian species belonging to the family of Crambidae – box tree moth – Cydalima perspectalis Walker.

On the Black Sea coast of Russia, caterpillars of the first generation were noted in the second half of June, the second generation – in early and middle August.

Young caterpillars are of greenish-yellow color, as they grow older the color of their body darkens. Adult caterpillars retain green color of body, one thick black and a few thin white stripes, and a number of large convex black dots are formed on the sides of the body. The length of mature caterpillars reaches 4 cm. Caterpillars’ hatch from eggs was extended; it was possible to see caterpillars of 1-3 ages at the same time.

The first generation remained almost unnoticed, while the second one caused a massive desiccation of Buxus sempervirens, including both detached specimens and borders. The population density of the second generation reached 60-80 caterpillars / dm2 squares of the clipped hedges. It is noted that in shading conditions, the pest developed slower (with a delay of approximately 5-7 days) and was less aggressive.

Pupae are 1.5-2.0 cm long, at first green with dark stripes on the dorsal surface; the older ones are yellowish-brown. They are located in a web cocoon among leaves and branches, and not necessarily of Buxus sempervirens, but also in other crops grown nearby.

The moths’ flight of the second generation was observed in the first ten-day period of September. Medium-sized moth is about 4 cm with a wing spread. The wings are white in the center and slightly iridescent, around the edges there is a thick dark brown border of unequal width. The moth is slightly iridescent with brown areas having golden glitter and white parts with shades of violet. The body is mainly white with dark brown head and the end of the abdomen.

In Sochi, the pest has only been recorded in Buxus sempervirens cultivars for the present. The given species has not yet been registered in Buxus colchica Pojark. that is aboriginal on the Black Sea coast of Russia.

Most probably that the species has come to the Black Sea coast of Russia together with the planting stock of Buxus sempervirens, brought from European nurseries. One can assume that considering the observed level of the pest population and its prevalence on the coast (the distance between the end points, on which the pest was registered in 2013 is about 100 km), invasion lasts unnoticed for at least 2 years. The observations on the development of the pest population will be continued.


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