Host preference and host colonization of the Asian long-horned beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis (Coleoptera Cerambycidae), in Southern Europe.
Tree colonization and feeding activity of the invasive wood-borer Asian longhorn beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis), an Asian pest introduced into North America and Europe, was studied in a newly invaded area in Italy. The hypothesis being tested was that the reproductive success of the insect depend on habitat type and tree suitability. Adult beetles were caged on branches of host and nonhost species, in both urban and forest habitats. Two months later, number and size of feeding patches on plant tissues, eggs laid, and surviving larvae were assessed. Bark concentration of C and N was also measured from the same trees. Results indicated that the mean area of plant tissues consumed by adult feeding was significantly larger on trees growing in forest than in urban habitat, although within the same habitat there were no differences between susceptible and nonsusceptible trees. ALB tree colonization, in terms of number of eggs laid and young larvae survival, was not affected by habitat while it was higher on susceptible trees. Although trees growing in forests had a lower nitrogen concentration, they allowed colonization rates similar to those of trees growing in the urban habitat. Hence, the amount of carbon and nitrogen did not fully explain tree suitability or habitat selection. We suggest compensatory feeding as a potential mechanism that might explain this peculiar situation, as supported by a more intensive feeding activity recorded on trees in the forest. Suitability of different trees may be due to other factors, such as secondary chemical compounds.