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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Identification Guide to the Invasive Emerald Ash Borer and Its Relatives: a Joint USDA Cfia Initiative

Location: Systematic Entomology

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
To mitigate the multi-million dollar risk posed by invasive pest the Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis, Coleoptera: Buprestidae) and other closely related Agrilus species to North America and European forests and forest products.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
The design of the project will be mainly based on an annual cycle with the (01) fieldwork in the Asia-Pacific Regions, mainly P.R. China, followed by the (02) lab work with the borrowed and collected beetle samples. (01) Fieldwork for this project will consist of two integral parts: sampling beetles in the forests of the Asia-Pacific Region and working with the collaborating personnel there. Every year CFIA and USDA team members will travel to the Asia-Pacific Region, meet their local collaborator, and go to the field. Sampling of Agrilus beetles in nature is a highly specialized activity to be performed only by most dedicated efforts of a qualified person having proper equipment. Agrilus adult beetles cannot be effectively attracted to any known trap or attractant, and, therefore, they have to be hand collected beating vegetation in early hours when beetles are not most active to fly away, or by high canopy sweeping with large-diameter nets on long handles. This biological peculiarity sets Agrilus collecting aside from any general beetle sampling and is the main reason why we have to spend so much time in the field collecting fresh specimens. Immature stages of Agrilus, mainly larvae, will be actively looked for under tree bark. All specimens will be collected and subsequently kept in 95% ethanol to allow for DNA preservation and extraction. Whenever possible, host species of Agrilus pests will be recorded. (02) Monographic treatment of A. planipennis species-group will cover some 20–30 species most closely related to EAB. It will follow the procedure of ARS' scientist monograph of the Anoplophora of Asia. The book will be richly illustrated to serve as the user friendly diagnostic tool for regulatory personnel at ports of entry and diagnostic centres in both Canada and the USA. Taxonomic revisions of sub-sections of the genus Agrilus will be produced following the process already well-established by the CFIA members of the project team. These papers will be of a more technical nature as compared to the monograph. They will provide all necessarily taxonomic formalities for species delimitation and descriptions.


3.Progress Report:

The emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis, is a very significant invasive beetle killing ash trees in the United States. ARS researchers in Washington, District of Columbia, along with Forest Service collaborators in East Lansing Michigan and a collaborator in St. Petersburg, Russia completed and published a manuscript on the morphology and identification of the immature stages of the emerald ash borer. Prior to this study, the immature life stages were poorly known and had never been fully described and illustrated. This paper will be a valuable tool to aid in the rapid identification of this serious invasive pest beetle in the United States. Scientists from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and ARS have worked jointly to complete descriptions, diagnoses, and illustrations for 6 new species of Agrilus related to the emerald ash borer. A manuscript has been prepared and is nearly ready for submission. A significant publication describing 6 new species of Agrilus related to the emerald ash borer was produced. Large amounts of material from expeditions to Asia have been curated and added to the project for morphological and molecular analysis. A manual for identification of all species related to the emerald ash borer is near completion. This work will be critical to USDA-APHIS and other national and state regulatory agencies and universities focusing on invasive species and interested in studying their habits.


Last Modified: 10/30/2014
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