Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"A Menacing Discovery Of the Emerald Ash Borer in Moscow"

Below is my translation of a web site posting first mention over at the invasive species web log site. The web site for the original is at the end of this rough translation. I might note that the author makes a reference in item number 2, that the species is known to attack other plants besides Fraxinus. There is no citation; I just want to make sure it is noted.
I am fortunate to still be married to my wonderful Russian wife without whose help this translation would be in progress for several life times. She however has had her fill of invasive species for the evening. most of the night and probably the rest of the week.

The reasons behind the sudden wilting of ash trees (Fraxinus excelsior and F. pennsylvanica) in the Moscow region in the years 2002 to 2004 have been discovered.
Several years of severe winters eased the way for an infestation of ash bark beetles (Hylesinus). Simultaneously, in the trunks and large branches, many borer tunnels of the narrow-bodied insect were detected. Large larvae up to 32 mm in size and specific exit holes with apertures in a D-shaped form were noted. The exit holes for the adult were appreciably different from the exit holes of native ash borers such as (Agrilus viridis (L.) and A. coeruleus Rossi), and other borers which occssionally attack ashes in Mosocw such as, Trachypteris picta (Pall.), Anthaxia bicolor Fald.

The collected specimens of the insects were sent to A. V. Alekseev, a qualified expert, who certified that the insects were the species known as the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)/(Narrow-Bodied Borer (JAIUZ): Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (= A. feretriue Obenberger, A. marcopoli Obenberger).

Discovering this insect is important for ordinary citizens even though they may not think so at first; the following explains why.

1. The native region for the species EAB are the deciduous forests of the Korean peninsula, northeast China, Japan, Mongolia, Taiwan. The species also lives in the territory of Russia (in woods of Seaside and Khabarovsk edges).
2. Host plants with in the native region of EAB include, not only ashes (F. chinensis, F. japonica, F. lanuginosa, F. mandshurica, F. rhynchophylla,), but also some other species (Juglans mandshurica, Pterocarya rhoifolia, Ulmus davidiana, U. propinqua).
3. The density of larval infestation on trunks in the natural habitat of China, even as part of a complex eco-system complete with parasitic insects, quite often reaches 300 per square meter. The density is so great as to weaken completely, healthy trees.
4. EAB was discovered in North America in 2002 in the state of Michigan and soon spread to Ohio, Maryland, and Ontario, Canada. All wilting trees upon inspection revealed the insect. Upon identification, the insect was declared a quarantine species in both countries. However, it was too late to halt the spread, and the resulting destruction.
5. The degree to which the infestation and spread of the insect is known in the USA and Canada is now so great, and, already the first consequences of its activities so catastrophic, that North American experts are forced to speak about the beginning of the total destruction of ash trees in North America. (Hermes et al., 2003).
6. American and Canadian entomologists believe that the spread of EAB in the USA began with the importation of second grade wooden containers (pallets) which were usually used for packing materials for equipment presumably originating in China.
7. Up to the time of the described detection in Moscow, there is no evidence of infestation in Europe. On the basis of data demonstrating high harm to ash tree plantings which this insect causes in North America, it has been entered into List А1 of the List of Quarantine Organisms of the European and Mediterranean Organization on Protection of Plants (ЕОZR) as a dangerous species absent as of yet.
8. In Russia, EAB is not a quarantine species. It does not appear in the last national list of quarantine species approved in 2003. The quarantine service has no standing to examine vegetative/horticultural imports with a directive to look for EAB. In addition there are only a few entymologists who could identify the species. There is no licensing or regulation impeding the importation of live plant stock in regards to this insect.
9. The infestation of EAB in the Moscow region most likely began in the 1990’s from imports from North America. During this time, a number of firms brought wooden packing materials from abroad to Russia. Along side this general imporation was the importing of trees and shrub species to Moscow, along with ash trees from Canada. The majority of the trees were planted in/for the city, with the balance being sold for private use. It is entirely possible that the spread could be explained by the direct importation of wooden containers from China.

The mass expansion of the EAB population in Moscow will shortly give the same result as Dutch Elm Disease has had on our city trees. Most of our beautiful elm trees have succumbed and are gone. Meanwhile there are still ash trees which have not been infested, and while EAB has not spread beyond Moscow it should be unquestionably quarantined to limit the widespread infestation with all its consequences.

Dr. S.S.Izhevsky, Biological Sciences'


Jennifer Forman Orth said...

This is so great! (Uh, the translation, I mean - the actual report is very sad.)

Please thank your wife with a nice dinner out or a foot rub :-).

If I might, I'd like to add a link directly to my post on the subject.

jodi said...

Until I visited Windsor, Ontario early last fall, I had never heard of the emerald ash borer--or seen the damage it can wreak. Windsor's ash trees have been seriously devastated. I don't know how we as ordinary citizens are supposed to halt the spread of such invasive species into our countries, be their plant or animal. Thank you for keeping us informed about such things.

gurdonark said...

I suggest the word might be "entomologist" rather than "etymologist".

Interesting article.