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Institut Sophia Agrobiotech

UMR INRA - Univ. Nice Sophia Antipolis - Cnrs

Applied Entomology and Zoology

12 April 2017

Applied Entomology and Zoology
© 2017 Springer International Publishing AG. Part of Springer Nature.
Walnut husk fly, Rhagoletis completa (Diptera: Tephritidae), invades Europe: invasion potential and control strategies


Rhagoletis completa Cresson (Diptera: Tephritidae) is native to North America and invaded Western Europe in the late 1980s, causing important damage to its principal host, walnut (Juglans spp.). In this review, we summarize the important elements of R. completa’s biology, phytosanitary status and methods used in Europe for its control, and then present the main conclusions associated with a completed risk analysis performed in 2014 to evaluate the dispersion and establishment potential of R. completa in Europe. The walnut husk fly was initially identified in Switzerland (1988) and Italy (1991), from where it spread to at least seven additional countries: France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary. R. completa has not reached the limits of its potential distribution. The main dissemination pathways within Europe include: (1) natural adult dissemination; (2) adult hitchhiker behaviour; and, to a lesser extent, (3) transportation of larvae in fresh fruits. R. completa host plants are widely distributed in Europe, either as isolated wild trees or in orchards, favouring the probability of fly establishment in currently fly-free areas. In addition, the European territories where Juglans species are present share biogeographic similarities. In orchards where R. completa is present and uncontrolled, 100% of walnut trees can be infested, causing losses in walnut yields of up to 80%. The negative effect is low (<10% yield loss) under phytosanitary control, although additional costs must also be considered to support specific monitoring for R. completa. The information presented here underlines a strong need for better walnut husk fly monitoring across European countries, as well as for increasing efforts to develop biological methods to control this emerging pest.


Plant pest risk analysis, Invasive species, Biological invasion, Tephritidae fruit fly 

Verheggen, F., Verhaeghe, A., Giordanengo, P., Tassus, X., and Escobar-Gutiérrez, A. (2017). Walnut husk fly, Rhagoletis completa (Diptera: Tephritidae), invades Europe: invasion potential and control strategies. Appl Entomol Zool 52, 1–7. DOI: 10.1007/s13355-016-0459-7

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