A Bark Beetle | Pycnarthrum hispidum (Ferrari)

California Pest Rating for
A Bark Beetle | Pycnarthrum hispidum (Ferrari)
Pest Rating: C



Initiating Event:

Pycnarthrum hispidum is currently Q-rated.  A permanent pest rating proposal is required to support an official pest rating.

History & Status:

Background:  Pycnarthrum hispidum is a neotropical bark beetle that occurs at low elevations below 1300 meters above sea level.  The feeding behavior is apparently restricted to the phloem of cut, injured, or fallen limbs and trunks of fig trees (Ficus spp.).  No reports were found suggesting that it attacks living, healthy trees.  The species has been associated with the following Ficus species: F. lyrata, F. elastica, and F. retusa.

Worldwide Distribution:  Pycnarthrum hispidum occurs in the United States (south Texas and south Florida), Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, Venezuela, and Guyana.

Official Control: Pycnarthrum hispidum does not appear to be under official control anywhere.

California Distribution:  Pycnarthrum hispidum is not known to occur in California.

California Interceptions: Pycnarthrum hispidum was intercepted on Artemisia sp., Ficus sp., and Ceratonia silique from Florida (PDR # 010P06660363, 010P06660369, 010P06660366, and 010P06660375).

The risk Pycnarthrum hispidum would pose to California is evaluated below.

Consequences of Introduction:

1) Climate/Host Interaction: Pycnarthrum hispidum occurs in tropical/subtropical areas. There is a possibility that it could become established in a limited portion of California.  Ficus species are grown as ornamental trees in California and could serve as host plants.  Therefore, Pycnarthrum hispidum receives a Medium (2) in this category.

– Low (1) Not likely to establish in California; or likely to establish in very limited areas.

Medium (2) may be able to establish in a larger but limited part of California.

– High (3) likely to establish a widespread distribution in California.

2) Known Pest Host Range: Pycnarthrum hispidum is apparently restricted to the genus Ficus. Therefore, it receives a Low (1) in this category.

Low (1) has a very limited host range.

– Medium (2) has a moderate host range.

– High (3) has a wide host range.

3) Pest Dispersal Potential: Pycnarthrum hispidum is capable of sustained flight, and is attracted to light.  Therefore, it receives a Medium (2) in this category.

– Low (1) does not have high reproductive or dispersal potential.

Medium (2) has either high reproductive or dispersal potential.

– High (3) has both high reproduction and dispersal potential.

4) Economic Impact: The available information suggests that Pycnarthrum hispidum does not impact living trees.  The two most obvious concerns regarding the possible establishment of a species that feeds on Ficus are ornamental trees and commercial fig fruit, but these concerns are not supported by evidence.  In 2016, figs were grown in 32 Mexican states and the harvest was worth approximately 514 million pesos.  Yet, there do not appear to be any reports of P. hispidum as a pest of figs there, or anywhere else.  Ficus species are also widely planted as ornamental trees, and again, no reports were found of P. hispidum as a pest.  Therefore, it receives a Low (1) in this category.

Economic Impact:

A. The pest could lower crop yield.

B. The pest could lower crop value (includes increasing crop production costs).

C. The pest could trigger the loss of markets (includes quarantines).

D. The pest could negatively change normal cultural practices.

E. The pest can vector, or is vectored, by another pestiferous organism.

F. The organism is injurious or poisonous to agriculturally important animals.

G. The organism can interfere with the delivery or supply of water for agricultural uses.

Economic Impact Score: 1

Low (1) causes 0 or 1 of these impacts.

– Medium (2) causes 2 of these impacts.

– High (3) causes 3 or more of these impacts.

5) Environmental Impact: Pycnarthrum hispidum is only known to feed on Ficus species, and there are no species in this genus (or even the family Moraceae) native to California. Additionally, as explained above in Economic Impact, there does not appear to be significant potential for hispidum to become an economic pest.  Therefore, it receives a Low (1) in this category.

Evaluate the environmental impact of the pest on California using the criteria below.

Environmental Impact:

A. The pest could have a significant environmental impact such as lowering biodiversity, disrupting natural communities, or changing ecosystem processes.

B. The pest could directly affect threatened or endangered species.

C. The pest could impact threatened or endangered species by disrupting critical habitats.

D. The pest could trigger additional official or private treatment programs.

E. The pest significantly impacts cultural practices, home/urban gardening or ornamental plantings.

Environmental Impact. Score: 1

Low (1) causes none of the above to occur.

– Medium (2) causes one of the above to occur.

– High (3) causes two or more of the above to occur.

Consequences of Introduction to California for Pycnarthrum hispidum: Low (7)

Add up the total score and include it here.

Low = 5-8 points

–Medium = 9-12 points

–High = 13-15 points

6) Post Entry Distribution and Survey Information: Pycnarthrum hispidum is not known to be present in California.  It receives a Not Established (0) in this category.

Not established (0) Pest never detected in California, or known only from incursions.

–Low (-1) Pest has a localized distribution in California, or is established in one suitable climate/host area (region).

–Medium (-2) Pest is widespread in California but not fully established in the endangered area, or pest established in two contiguous suitable climate/host areas.

–High (-3) Pest has fully established in the endangered area, or pest is reported in more than two contiguous or non-contiguous suitable climate/host areas.

Final Score:

7) The final score is the consequences of introduction score minus the post entry distribution and survey information score: Low (7)


There appears to be little uncertainty regarding the possible impact of Pycnarthrum hispidum in California.  The species is widely distributed and common and not a single report was found of it attacking live trees.

Conclusion and Rating Justification:

Pycnarthrum hispidum is a common, Neotropical insect that apparently feeds on cut branches and trunks of Ficus spp.  No reports were found suggesting it is a pest in any situation.  It does not appear to pose a threat to California’s agriculture or environment.  For these reasons, a “C” rating is justified.


Atkinson, T.H. and A.E. Martínez.  1985.  Notes on biology and distribution of Mexican and Central American Scolytidae (Coleoptera).  I.  Hylesininae, Scolytinae except Cryphalini and Corthylini.  The Coleopterists Bulletin.  39(3): 227-238.

Atkinson, T.H., Martínez-Fernández, E., Saucedo-Céspedes, E., and A. Burgos-Solorio.  1986.  Scolytidae y Platypodidae (Coleoptera) asociados a selva baja y comunidades derivadas en el estado de Morelos.  Folia Entomolόgica Mexicana.  69: 41-82.

Martínez, A.E. and T.H. Atkinson.  1986.  Annotated checklist of bark and ambrosia beetles (Coleoptera: Scolytidae and Platypodidae) associated with a tropical deciduous forest at Chamela, Jalisco, Mexico.  Florida Entomologist.  69(4): 619-635.

Servicio de Informaciόn Agroalimentaria y Pesquera.  Anuario Estadístico de la Producciόn Agrícola.  http://nube.siap.gob.mx/cierre_agricola/

Symbiota Collections of Arthropods Network (SCAN).  http://symbiota4.acis.ufl.edu

Valencia, A.E. and T.H. Atkinson.  1988.  Scolytidae y Platypodidae (Coleoptera) de escárcega, Campeche, México.  Biogeografia, biología, importancia econόmica y una lista comentada de especies.  Anales del Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autόnoma de México.  58: 199-220.

Wood, S.L.  1982.  The bark and ambrosia beetles of North and Central America (Coleoptera: Scolytidae), a taxonomic monograph.  Brigham Young University.  1359 pp.

Wood, S.L.  2007.  Bark and ambrosia beetles of South America.  Brigham Young University.  900 pp.


Kyle Beucke, 1220 N Street, Room 221, Sacramento, CA, 95814, 916-403-6741, plant.health[@]cdfa.ca.gov

Responsible Party:

Jason Leathers, 2800 Gateway Oaks Drive, Sacramento CA 95833, (916) 654-1211;  plant.health[@]cdfa.ca.gov.

Comment Period:* CLOSED

1/16/2018 – 3/2/2018


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Pest Rating: C


Posted by ls