Scientists from Russia found a home «bug-saboteur» destroying forests in the United States

© Photo : Mark Philbrick, BYU PhotoИзумрудные buprestids in the laboratoryScientists from Russia found a home «bug-saboteur» destroying forests in the United States© Photo : Mark Philbrick, BYU Photo

Famous emerald buprestids, «bugs saboteurs» that destroy forests in the United States and in Europe, initially lived in a fairly small region on the border of North Korea, China, Russia and Japan, say Russian scientists in an article published in the journal Biological Invasions.

«It would seem, what could be easier? But the point habitats of insects is a rarity. Collect all findings and apply on the map, and all. People prefer not to define the area, and about to rewrite from other articles. Probably because it is a very laborious job to consider each point, write down all the geographical coordinates,» says Marina Key from the Institute of ecology and evolution Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, quoted by the press service of the Russian science Foundation.

The so-called emerald buprestids (Agrilus planipennis) are widely distributed in the East of Russia and China where these insects are striking the old and diseased ash trees without causing serious problems for healthy trees and other vegetation. While unclear how they entered the territory of North America in 2002, and since then they have rapidly spread in real whitewashed ash forests in Canada and the United States, literally mowing down them 10 years after the appearance of the first specimens of jewel beetles in different forest areas.

Because of these beetles, five of the six most common species of poplar in North America got a new version of the red book as species which are today in a critical condition. Another view of poplars fell into the category of species whose survival is under threat.

The total number of poplars at the moment is about nine billion trees, most of which may disappear in the next 10 years as a result of the further spread of the beetles-the»saboteurs». This will not only lead to large-scale reconstructions of the ecosystems, but will also deprive the economy of the USA and Canada source of wood for furniture, baseball bats, Golf clubs and tennis rackets.

The exact origin of these beetles as Key notes, remained a mystery to scientists – no one had tried to determine the exact boundaries of the habitat of these pests, as biologists and ecologists believed that they inhabited almost the entire North-East and East Asia.

Russian scientists decided to test how well and fully this description, comparing it with a real, accurately-documented data on the findings of buprestids in Asia. They have gathered information from various sources: the studied specimens stored in Museum collections gathered together all the information published in different languages, including rare Japanese and Chinese works, and built the first accurate map of the natural range of the pest.

It turned out that the actual area of distribution of the beetle buprestids in Asia is much less than is commonly believed. The insect is widespread in the far East, in eight provinces of China, the Korean Peninsula and in Japan. Mentioned in many works notes on the distribution of this species in Mongolia, Taiwan, and also in Inner Mongolia and Sichuan have not been confirmed by actual discoveries.

The disclosure of actual habitat «of bugs saboteurs», as noted by the ecologists, is an important thing for several reasons. First, biologists now can begin to search for natural enemies of jewel beetles, which can help to control the spread of these pests in America and in Western Europe.

Second, ego opening allows you to focus measures to curb the spread of these beetles in this district on the borders of Russia, China, Korea and Japan, and prevent its penetration in other parts of the world not yet familiar with these pests.

«We believe that our study should be a model. Example ash emerald ash borer buprestids shows that the generally accepted ideas about the natural habitats of pests need to be tested by gathering information on specific findings,» says the ecologist.