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ŠUMARSKI LIST 7-8/2013 str. 33     <-- 33 -->        PDF

Even though destructive insect invasions can generally progress rapidly (Johnson et al. 2006; Muirhead et al. 2006), D. kuriphilus became established and expanded in a noteworthy short time. The rate at which this pest dispersed indicates that species’ movement is not accomplished only by its own flight (active or even wind-assisted flight), but is mostly human-mediated. This is observed as long distance dispersal when D. kuriphilus is trasported over long distances with infested plant material. Consequently, the assessment of the mean rate of spread of the invasion front at only 8 km/year (EFSA 2010), underestimates the actual expanding ability of the pest. As eggs and larvae grow in dormant buds (winter shoot and twigs for grafting and overwintering plants) inspection of plant material against in­festa­tion of D. kuriphilus is sometimes very difficult to be done properly. This fact has to be taken into careful consideration when planning an efficient strategy to limit the further expansion of D. kuriphilus into other European countries, as until now this pest seems to be very difficult to confine.
A severe population bottleneck during invasion does not seem to have compromised the ability of D. kuriphilus to establish and expand rapidly in Europe. Uniparental propagation, phenotype plasticity together with human mediated long-distance dispersal, lack of natural enemies and availibility of host plant have determined the invasion of the chestnut gall wasp in the European continent. Application of molecular methods to elucidate the genetic variation of this invasive pest has provided information not only on the introduction but most importantly its dispersal. Beside that, the general remarks on the on-going invasion of the chestnut gallwasp can be used to understand the mechanisms by which parthenogenetic organisms can become serious pests even without sufficient genetic variation.
We would like to thank Graham Stone for his valuable comments on the manuscript, Ambra Quacchia, Giovanni Bosio and Katarina Kos for kindly supplying the samples for analyses; DNA would like to thank Stephanos Diamandis for supporting this research idea and DM would like to thank Blazenka Ercegovac for help in the laboratory work and Croatian Ministry of Agriculture which financially supported Croatian part of the research (IPP grant for 2011.).
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