New Eucaluptus pest recorded from Zimbabwe

Posted: 1 August 2007
Thaumastocoris sp.(Heteroptera: Cimicoidea)

Recently Zimbabwe has reported the existence of a new pest - Thaumastocoris sp. infesting Eucalyptus species. Specimens are being gathered and sent to specialists for species identification.

It was first reported at an estate engaged in clonal forestry. The clones originated from South Africa and are approximately 8 years old. Preliminary observations indicate that the pest is being assisted by birds to infest new areas; in most urban areas eucalypts are the tallest trees that are used as roosts and nesting sites by birds. Workers in plantations also aid the dispersal of this pest through harvested timber. A very active species, Thaumastocoris easily attach themselves onto anything that passes by. At this point, it seems the pest prefers Eucalyptus camaldulensis over other host species although in general the pest has been recorded on all eucalypt species. The pest has spread as far as 200 km from Harare.

New record from South Africa

Posted: 9 July 2007

Leptocybe invasa (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), Blue gum chalcid.

Posing a serious threat to Eucalyptus forestry, the blue gum chalcid was first reported in South Africa in June 2007. The Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) was informed by Dr. Stefan Neser that the pest was found in the Pretoria area. This pest has been reported from other African countries including Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda (see below).

The arrival of this pest is not good news for South Africa forestry and also presents bad news for countries such as Malawi and Zimbabwe for instance, situated between Tanzania where the insect is already causing great damage and South Africa. These countries are urged to also be on the look out for the pest.

More information can be found on the TPCP Web site:
Pest Alert: Leptocybe invasa
Blue gum chalcid identification and symptoms

New pest, Gonometa podocarpi, recorded in Tanzania

Posted: 7 February 2007

Gonometa podocarpi Aurivillius, 1925 (Lepidoptera: Lasiocampidae)

In 2006, Tanzania experienced a very serious attack of Pinus patula in the Sao Hill forest plantation by Gonometa podocarpi. In one section, about 25% was seriously defoliated by the insect. To date, the impacts, origin of the insects and factors which trigged the outbreak have not been assessed though work on these issues is planned for July 2007.

The genus Gonometa occurs in many parts of Africa but Gonometa podocarpi seems to be confined to East Africa and was first recorded from Mount Elgon, Kenya. In the 1960s it was reported as a devastating insect in Uganda. It has never been reported as a serious insect pest in Tanzania.

For more information please contact Mr. Seif Madoffe at madoffe@suanet.ac.tz

New Eucalyptus disease, Coniothyrium zuluense, recorded in Ethiopia

Posted: 27 April 2006

Coniothyrium zuluense, Eucalyptus canker, Coniothyrium stem canker

A new canker of eucalypts was discovered in south and southwestern parts of Ethiopia during a national survey for eucalypt diseases. Characterized by the presence of necrotic lesions, stem cankers and malformations, cracking of stems, production of kino pockets in the wood, the pathogen was identified as Coniothyrium zuluense.

Alemu Gezahgne, A., Cortinas, M., Wingfield, M.J. & Roux, J. 2005. Characterisation of the Coniothyrium stem canker pathogen on Eucalyptus camaldulensis in Ethiopia, available here. Australasian Plant Pathology, 34(1): 85-90.

New Eucalpytues pest recorded in South Africa

Posted: 12 September 2005 (Updated 02 August 2007)

Thaumastocoris peregrinus (Hemiptera: Thaumastocoridae)


Originating from the eastern regions of Australia, Thaumastocoris peregrinus is a gregarious, sap-sucking bug that has become a significant pest in commercially important exotic eucalypt plantations of South Africa. It poses a major threat to the forest sector by reducing the photosynthetic ability of the tree, resulting in stunted growth and even death of severely infested trees. It infests many eucalypt species and their hybrids, including Eucalyptus camaldulensis, E. grandis, E. tereticornis, E. smithii, E. viminalis, E. grandis x camaldulensis and E. grandis x urophylla.

This pest was originally identified as Thaumastocoris australicus (Jacobs and Neser, 2005) until Carpintero and Dellapé (2006) described a new species, T. peregrinus, which is morphologically very similar to T. australicus. They also reported that the Thaumastocoris pest in South Africa showed unique morphological characteristics only found on T. peregrinus. The identification of the Thaumastocoris pest in South Africa as Thaumastocoris peregrinus has since been confirmed through genetic testing and in consultation with a taxonomic specialist of the genus Thaumastocoris (Nadel, pers. comm.).

Related references and links:

  • Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TCPC) pamphlets
  • http://fabinet.up.ac.za/personnel/showperson.php?id=rnadel
  • Thaumastocoris: The solution. Wood Southern Africa and Timber Times. May 2007: 10-11.
  • Jacob, D.H. and Neser, S. 2005. Thaumastocoris australicus (Heteroptera: Thaumastocoridae): a new insect arrival in South Africa, damaging to Eucalyptus trees. Research in Action, South African Journal of Science, 101: 233-236.
  • Carpintero, D.L. & Dellapé, P.M. 2006. A new species of Thaumastocoris Kirkaldy from Argentina (Heteroptera: Thaumastocoridae: Thaumastocorinae). Zootaxa, 1228: 61-68.

    For more information please contact Mr. Stefan Neser at NeserS@arc.agric.za or Mr. Dawid Jacobs at dawidhj@mweb.co.za


  • Fact-sheet, South Africa 

    New pest recorded in South Africa

    Posted: 16 May 2005

    Coryphodema tristis (Lepidoptera: Cossidae), Cossid moth.

    The hosts of this moth include species in the Rosaceae, Combretaceae, Malvaceae, Myoporaceae, Scorphulariaceae, Ulmaceae and Vitaceae. This cossid moth has been found feeding on Eucalyptus nitens in the Carolina - Badplaas - Lothair area in South Africa. The rate of infestation ranges from less than 1% to 80%.


    Gebeyehu, S., Hurley, B.P. & Wingfield, M.J. 2005. A new lepidopteran insect pest discovered on commercially grown Eucalyptus nitens in South Africa. South African Journal of Science, 101, 26-28.


    Cossid moth - Resin - Tunnelling of larvae in the sapwoodMore information and pictures (description, symptoms, basic biology, damage and control).