Pest categorisation of Russellaspis pustulans

EFSA J. 2022 Jun 3;20(6):e07335. doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2022.7335. eCollection 2022 Jun.


The EFSA Panel on Plant Health performed a pest categorisation of Russellaspis pustulans (Hemiptera: Asterolecaniidae), the oleander pit scale, for the EU. R. pustulans occurs widely in tropical and subtropical areas of the world and is restricted to indoor plantings in cooler temperate regions. Within the EU, it has been reported in some literature from Cyprus, Italy and Malta though not confirmed by the NPPOs. R. pustulans is not listed in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2072. It is very polyphagous, feeding on plants in 69 families and exhibits a preference for fig (Ficus carica) and oleander (Nerium oleander). R. pustulans was observed completing up to three generations per year in Egypt, with peaks of presence in June, October and December. The main natural dispersal stage is the first instar, which crawls over the host plant or may be dispersed further by wind and animals. Plants for planting, cut branches and fruits provide potential pathways for entry into the EU. Climatic conditions in some parts of southern EU countries are favourable and host plants are available in those areas to support establishment. However, the magnitude of impact following introduction is uncertain. Phytosanitary measures are available to reduce the likelihood of entry and further spread. R. pustulans does meet the criteria that are within the remit of EFSA to assess for it to be regarded as a potential Union quarantine pest.

Keywords: Asterolecaniidae; Oleander pit scale; fig trees; pest risk; plant health; plant pest; quarantine.