A pest risk assessment for Copitarsia spp., Insects associated with importation of commodities into the United States
Eggs and larvae of Copitarsia spp. (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) are frequently intercepted on fresh commodities arriving in the United States from Mexico, Central America, and South America. Copitarsia spp. are not known to occur in the US and, thus, are considered actionable pests by the US Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA, APHIS). Whenever the genus is detected in imported goods, shipments must be disinfested, destroyed, or returned to the country of origin. Inspections and interdictions might be unnecessary if Copitarsia spp. were unlikely to establish in the US or if consequences of Copitarsia establishment were trivial. Consequently, we prepared a qualitative pest risk assessment to characterize the degree of risk posed by the genus to US agricultural and natural ecosystems. Published literature was consulted to describe the biology and ecology of the genus. Trade statistics and interception records were summarized to identify pathways of introduction. With this information, experts assigned risk ratings to each of eleven elements identified by USDA, APHIS that pertained to the likelihood or consequence of exotic-pest establishment. The likelihood of Copitarsia spp. becoming established in the US was considered high, but confidence in this assessment was low. Similarly, consequences of Copitarsia establishment were rated high, but confidence in this assessment was moderate. Overall, the assessment revealed that Copitarsia pose a high degree of risk to the US and phytosanitary measures to exclude the pest seem warranted. However, additional research is needed to address critical data gaps and refine assessments of risk for individual species within the genus.
Venette RC, Gould JR (2006) A pest risk assessment for Copitarsia spp., Insects associated with importation of commodities into the United States. Euphytica 148, 165–183 (2006). https://pubag.nal.usda.gov/download/4277/PDF
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