Tag Archives: Acalolepta aesthetica

Longhorned Beetle | Acalolepta aesthetica

a big longhorned beetle
California Pest Rating for
Longhorned Beetle | Acalolepta aesthetica (Olliff)
Coleoptera: Cerambycidae
Pest Rating: A


Initiating Event:

Acalolepta aesthetica is currently Q-rated.  It was introduced to, and is now established on the island of Hawaii.  A permanent pest rating proposal is required to support an official pest rating.

History & Status:

Background:  Acalolepta aesthetica is a large (approximately 3 cm in length) longhorned beetle.  The species has long antennae, which is typical of the family, and the dorsal (upper) surface is brown in color and velvety (Olliff, 1890).  As is the case with many cerambycids, the larvae feed inside tree trunks.  On the island of Hawaii, this beetle has been reported attacking Artocarpus altilis (Moraceae), Aleurites moluccanus (Euphorbiaceae), Citrus x latifolia (Rutaceae), Cycas sp. (Cycadaceae), Theobroma cacao (Malvaceae), and Trema orientalis (Cannabaceae).  Reports indicate that healthy trees are attacked (J. Matsunaga, pers. comm.).

Worldwide Distribution:  Acalolepta aesthetica is native to Australia and was introduced to Hawaii at least as early as 2009, when the first specimens were collected there (J. Matsunaga, pers. comm.).

Official Control: Acalolepta aesthetica is not known to be under official control anywhere.

California Distribution:  Acalolepta aesthetica is not known to be present in California (Symbiota Collections of Arthropods Network).

California Interceptions:  Acalolepta aesthetica has not been intercepted in California.

The risk Acalolepta aesthetica would pose to California is evaluated below.

Consequences of Introduction:

1) Climate/Host Interaction: Although Acalolepta aesthetica feeds on a variety of trees, and suitable hosts may be present over much of California, this beetle appears to be limited to areas with a tropical or subtropical climate (Atlas of Living Australia). There is little evidence this species could become established in more than a small portion of California.  Therefore, Acalolepta aesthetica receives a Low (1) 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: Acalolepta aesthetica was reported to attack trees in six families in Hawaii. Therefore, it receives a High (3) 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: Acalolepta aesthetica presumably flies, and due to its size, it could probably cover long distances.  Because the larvae live inside wood, this species could be dispersed artificially via movement of infested wood.  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 genus Acalolepta includes several species that are known pests (Slipinski and Ascalona, 2013).  Acalolepta aesthetica is reported to damage trees, including crop trees, in Hawaii.  Citrus is one of the trees reported to be attacked.  If it became established in California, Acalolepta aesthetica could become a pest of crop trees, including citrus.  This could result in lower yield and increased production costs for citrus, and there could also be a loss of markets.  Therefore, it receives a High (3) in this category.

Economic Impact:  A, B, C

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: 3

– 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: Acalolepta aesthetica is reported to attack and damage a variety of trees in six families. If this beetle became established in California, it could attack native California trees.  In addition, ornamental trees, including citrus, and cycads, could be attacked.  Therefore, it receives a High (3) in this category.

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

Environmental Impact: A, E

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.

Score the pest for Environmental Impact. Score:

Environmental Impact Score: 3

– 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 Acalolepta aesthetica: Medium (12)

Add up the total score and include it here.

–Low = 5-8 points

–Medium = 9-12 points

–High = 13-15 points

7) Post Entry Distribution and Survey Information: Acalolepta aesthetica is not known to occur 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: Medium (12)


There is very little information available on the biology of this species.  The most significant uncertainty regarding this species is climatic tolerance, but there could also be host range extension once it encountered the diverse flora of California.  There is a possibility that it may require a tropical or subtropical climate, in which case it may not be capable of becoming established in California.

Conclusion and Rating Justification:

Acalolepta aesthetica attacks a wide range of trees, including citrus.  The species is not known to be present in California, but if it was established here, it could become a pest of trees in agriculture and ornamental settings, and potentially in the environment.  For these reasons, an “A” rating is justified.


Atlas of Living Australia website.  Accessed November 13, 2017. http://www.ala.org.au

Olliff, A.S.  1890.  Contributions towards a knowledge of the Coleoptera of Australia.  Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales.  5: 5-11.

Slipinski, A. and Escalona, H.  2013.  Australian Longhorn Beetles (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) Volume 1: Introduction and Subfamily Lamiinae.  CSIRO Publishing.  504 pp.

Symbiota Collections of Arthropods Network.  Accessed November 13, 2017.  http://scan1.acis.ufl.edu


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, Sacramento CA 95833, (916) 654-1211, plant.health[@]cdfa.ca.gov

Comment Period:* CLOSED

3/15/18 – 4/29/18


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Pest Rating: A

Posted by ls