The rose flea beetle, RFB (Luperomorpha xanthodera Fairmaire 1888) is a new flower pest in Europe. In 2012, it was brought accidentally to central Poland. To search for this introduced species in the area adjacent to the site of the first finding, 29 plant species belonging to five botanical families (Lamiaceae, Brassicaceae, Asteraceae, Plantaginaceae, Crassulaceae) were monitored over a 3-year-long study (2016−2018). RFB were found on 11 herbaceous/ ornamental plant species (Lamiaceae, Brassicaceae, Asteraceae) along with feeding damage to the flowers. White mustard (Sinapis alba L., Brassicaceae), hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis L.), and Monarda spp. (Lamiaceae) were its most preferred host plants. In each season, RFB females preferred host plants which bloomed abundantly and vividly. However, among the examined plant species there was a large variation in the year-to-year RFB abundance. Over the examined period the RFB extended its abundance exponentially, and its population survived and established itself in the area. The general sex ratio of the beetles was strongly female biased. In the female pool, females with conspicuously swollen abdomens predominated. The results of our study provide more insight into RFB behaviour, its establishment and spreading into new areas. To support the evidence for the RFB risk factor as an agricultural/ horticultural pest, further research should focus on the beetles’ biology, reproductive tactics, larval host plant preference, larva-inflicted damage and harmfulness, the impact of the RFB on the native fauna, as well as its further local and distant migration propensity. Presently our knowledge about these aspects is still fragmentary.
We thank Professors Janina Gajc-Wolska and Ewa Osińska from The Department of Vegetable and Medicinal Plants, WULS – SGGW, Warsaw, Poland who provided us with the experimental plants thanks to which the research required no extra costs. Thanks are also due to Professor Lech Borowiec for the examination of the beetle individuals and to the students who volunteered to assist us in the RFB collection.
The study was supported by research funds of the Department (presently Section) of Applied Entomology, Warsaw University of Life Sciences – SGGW, Warsaw, Poland.
The authors have declared that no conflict of interests exist.
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