ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202109.0252.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Insect Science Keywords: Emerald ash borer; Fraxinus spp.; forest pests; invasive populations; north-west Russia; Saint Pe-tersburg; urban pests
Online: 15 September 2021 (09:46:17 CEST)
Emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis, is an invasive beetle of East Asian origin that in North America and Russia killed millions of ash trees (Fraxinus spp.). In September 2020, EAB was de-tected in Saint Petersburg, becoming resonant event for the metropolitan city. The aim of the present study was to investigate occurrence and ecology of EAB in Saint Petersburg. The presence of two distinct enclave populations of EAB was revealed, each of which has (very likely) been established by separate events of “hitchhiking” transport vehicles. Following the invasion, further spread of EAB in Saint Petersburg was slow and locally restricted, main explanation for which is climatic factor. Due to spread by “hitchhiking”, the possibility of EAB further long-distance ge-ographic spread of EAB in the Baltic Sea region (EU) is high, and not only by ground transport (120–130 km distance from EU borders), but also by ferries transporting cars (traditional means of transportation across the Baltic Sea). In certain cases, development of EAB on F. excelsior was more successful (stem portion colonized, larval densities, number of galleries, exit holes, viable larvae, emerged beetles) than in (adjacent) F. pennsylvanica trees. Observed relatively high EAB-sensitivity of F. excelsior therefore questions the efficacy and benefits of the currently ongoing selection and breeding projects against ash dieback (ADB), caused by Hymenoscyphus fraxineus. Inventory, mapping, and monitoring of surviving F. excelsior trees in areas infested by both ADB and EAB are necessary to acquire genetic resource for work on strategic long-term restoration of F. excelsior, tackling (inevitable) invasion of EAB to the EU.