The leaf beetle Labidostomis lusitanica (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) as an Iberian pistachio pest: projecting risky areas

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BACKGROUND Pistachio (Pistacia vera L.) is a commercially important tree in the Mediterranean basin, where there is a considerable increase in cultivation, especially in Spain. Because of its recent introduction as a crop in the country (1980s), studies on the pests of pistachio in Spain are still rare. Here, we studied the leaf beetle Labidostomis lusitanica (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), which was observed on pistachio and might become a serious pest under the expanding Spanish pistachio fields. Because early detection of pests is extremely important to properly plan control strategies, we (i) updated the information on the distribution of the species through samplings and surveys, and (ii) modelled its potential distribution. RESULTS Currently, L. lusitanica occurs across the whole Iberian Peninsula, especially in its southern and eastern parts, with adults on flight roughly from late April to early June. Analysis of climatic niches showed that L. lusitanica prefers dry and hot areas, which are conditions found especially in the central-southern parts of the Iberian Peninsula. Such highly suitable areas for this pest overlap considerably with the suitable areas for pistachio cultivation. Surveys of pistachio growers weakly suggested a higher pest attack probability, but, unexpectedly, a lower perceived impact in very suitable areas for L. lusitanica, suggesting that other factors may shape its pest potential in a complex way. CONCLUSION In line with what has been observed for other Labidostomis species on pistachio in other Mediterranean countries, L. lusitanica has a good potential to harm pistachio production in Spain, claiming for further investigations and prevention strategies. © 2021 The Authors. Pest Management Science published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society of Chemical Industry.