Invasive bark beetle Dryocoetes himalayensis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) – A threat for walnut trees (Juglans spp.) in Europe?
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As walnut trees (Juglans spp.) are of high economic importance, considerable attention has been given to invasive pests of these trees in Europe. In 2016, Dryocoetes himalayensis Strohmeyer, 1908, an alien bark beetle originating from the Himalayas region of India, already present in several European countries, was confirmed to have attacked walnut trees in the Czech Republic. Within the present study, we (i) surveyed the current distribution of D. himalayensis in the Czech Republic, (ii) examined D. himalayensis phenology by rearing it in trap logs, and (iii) investigated tree level habitat preferences of the species in two study stands with 180 black walnut (Juglans nigra L.) trees and 66 common walnut (Juglans regia L.) trees sampled. The present study documented the species to be relatively widespread in some warmer lowland regions of the Czech Republic (42 localities found) and to reach high abundance locally. Almost 15 thousand D. himalayensis individuals reared from the trap logs showed the species emerging throughout the whole vegetation period with a distinctive peak in June. Even though the species is able to develop in thin stems (diameter <5 cm), it is most numerous in thicker trunk bases and also preferably attacks trees of higher diameters. The species preferred common walnut trees (its native host) with decreased vitality. In contrast, black walnut trees (North American species) were attacked regardless of their vitality, but the vitality of occupied trees successively decreased. Based on our results, D. himalayensis should be assumed as a considerable pest of walnut trees (particularly black walnuts), which might become of significant importance in its European invasive range in the future, and thus substantial attention should be given to it.