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Pest Manag Sci. 2013 Jan;69(1):3-6. doi: 10.1002/ps.3423. Epub 2012 Nov 20.

Epitrix flea beetles: new threats to potato production in Europe.

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Food and Environment Research Agency, Sand Hutton, York, UK.


Epitrix tuberis and E. cucumeris are major pests of potatoes in North America. E. tuberis causes the most serious damage because the larval feeding can cause superficial serpentine tunnelling on the surface of tubers as well as deeper pits. This damage can make crops unmarketable. By contrast, E. cucumeris mainly damages the foliage, and yield losses can occur when the adults reach high densities. In 2004, potato tuber damage characteristic of E. tuberis was seen in Portugal. In 2008, damage was more widespread and severe. E. cucumeris and a lesser known species, E. similaris, were recorded in affected fields. E. similaris has since been found across Galicia, Spain. E. similaris is thought to be the most likely cause of the tuber damage in Portugal, but it is possible that E. cucumeris or an as yet undetected Epitrix species is causing the damage. In 2010, a pest risk assessment for the Euro-Mediterranean area identified the movement of adults and pupae with seed or ware potatoes and associated soil as being the highest-risk pathways for the spread of Epitrix. In 2012, EU emergency measures were agreed to reduce the risk of further introductions and the rate of spread of these pests.

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