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The grape rootworm, Fidia viticida (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), newly recorded from Quebec

  • Charles Vincent,
  • Stéphane Dumont et
  • Pierre de Tonnancour

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  • Charles Vincent
    Centre de recherche et de développement de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada, 430 boul. Gouin, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC, Canada J3B 3E6
    charles.vincent@agr.gc.ca

  • Stéphane Dumont
    Département de biologie et de biotechnologies, Collège Ahuntsic, 9155 Saint-Hubert, Montréal, QC, Canada H2M 1Y8

  • Pierre de Tonnancour
    22 5e Avenue, Terrasse-Vaudreuil, QC, Canada J7V 3P5

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In Canada, viticulture has recently experienced a tremendous growth in terms of cultivated areas and economic value (Frank 2013). This has been a steady trend in all major wine-producing provinces, including Quebec. These increased areas of cultivated vines offer new hosts for native insects that are associated with wild vines. Meanwhile, some insects may become new pests of vineyards, mainly via two mechanisms.

First, several foreign invasive species introduced into North America may thrive in the absence of efficient natural enemies and in the presence of new host plants. For example, the Asian native spotted-wing fruit fly, Drosophila suzukii Matsumura (Diptera: Drosophilidae), has recently been found infesting several crops in North America. It was discovered in Quebec vineyards for the first time in 2012 (Saguez et al. 2013). Another invasive pest from Asia, the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Stål) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), has invaded North America, where it rapidly became an important pest in several crops (Leskey et al. 2012). The Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica Newman (Coleoptera: Scarabeidae), is another invasive pest from Asia that is found in vineyards from the eastern USA (Pfeiffer 2012) all the way to southern Quebec, where it is becoming increasingly troublesome (J. Lasnier, pers. comm.). Halyomorpha halys currently threatens several crops in southern Ontario (Gariepy et al. 2014) and is expected to be found imminently in Quebec.

Second, native North American species may show an extension of their historical range, putatively due to climate change. In this paper, we report for the first time in Quebec the occurrence of the grape rootworm, Fidia viticida Walsh (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) (Fig. 1), a native insect of North America.

Fig. 1

Adult Fidia viticida (approximately 6 mm long)

Adult Fidia viticida (approximately 6 mm long)Credit: Serge Laplante

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Fig. 2

A hedgerow of Parthenocissus quinquefolia in Laval, QC, where numerous Fidia viticida adults were collected

A hedgerow of Parthenocissus quinquefolia in Laval, QC, where numerous Fidia viticida adults were collectedCredit: Stéphane Dumont

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In Canada, F. viticida was so far known to occur only in Ontario (Bousquet et al. 2013). As of September 2016, all Canadian F. viticida specimens in the Canadian National Collection of Insects (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, ON) had been collected in Ontario (Ojibway, Chatham, Tilsbury and Rondeau Park).

In 2016, numerous specimens of F. viticida adults were beaten mainly from Virginia creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia Linnaeus (Fig. 2), and riverbank grape, Vitis riparia Michaux, along the Papineau-Leblanc Highway in Laval, QC (45°35'29'' N; -73°41'13'' W). Beating these native vines on June 29 and 30 and July 5 yielded 13, 22, and 26 adult specimens, respectively. All specimens caught on July 5 were obtained from P. quinquefolia, except for one individual collected from V. riparia. Three specimens were sent to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Ottawa, ON) for identification. The plant names used here follow the nomenclature of Vascan (2016).

Voucher specimens of F. viticida were deposited in the Canadian National Collection of Insects and in the following three private collections: 1) Collection Claude Chantal (CCCH), Varennes, QC; 2) Collection Pierre de Tonnancour (CPTO), Terrasse-Vaudreuil, QC; 3) Collection Stéphane Dumont (CSDU), Montreal, QC.

Campbell et al. (1989) list four chrysomelid species feeding on grapes in Canada: Colaspis brunnea (Fabricius), Brachypnoea puncticollis (Say) [as Nodonota puncticollis], Rhabdopterus deceptor Barber and Rhabdopterus praetextus (Say). Bostanian et al. (2003) captured one chrysomelid of economic importance, the redheaded flea beetle, Systena frontalis (Fabricius), with window and pitfall traps deployed in two commercial vineyards in southern Quebec. In biodiversity studies conducted in the same vineyards, Lesage et al. (2008) collected 59 chrysomelid species, most of them transient species or species associated with weeds. They recorded four grape-feeding species: Bassareus formosus (Melsheimer), Bromius obscurus (Linnaeus), Systena blanda (Melsheimer) and Systena hudsonias (Forster). Lesage et al. (2008) also found Systena frontalis, whose adults feed on vine foliage but not on grapes.

As this first record of F. viticida suggests that it may become a new pest of cultivated vines in Quebec, the following considerations are discussed from a phytoprotection point of view.

  1. Fidia viticida is considered a major pest of vineyards in the eastern USA, particularly from the Lake Erie region (Johnson and Hammar 1910; Dennehy and Clark 1986) to Virginia (e.g. Pfeiffer 2012, 2016), where it requires insecticidal treatments. Adults feed on leaves, leaving damage akin to those of larval flea beetles (Pfeiffer 2012). Larvae consume small roots; this type of injury may have a much greater impact than foliar injury. Its effect on yield is difficult to quantify.

  2. Several species of wild vines grow in eastern Canada. Three species are known to occur in Quebec, two of which are indigenous (Parthenocissus vitacea (Kneer) and V. riparia) while the third one was introduced (P. quinquefolia) (Brouillet et al. 2010+). In Ontario, in addition to the two above-mentioned indigenous species, three indigenous (Vitis aestivalis Michaux, Vitis labrusca Linnaeus, and Vitis vulpina Linnaeus) and two introduced species (Parthenocissus tricuspidata (Siebold & Zuccarini) Planchon and Ampelopsis glandulosa (Wallich) Moniyama) are present. As these wild species are not treated with insecticides, they provide refuge for the grape rootworm to feed and reproduce.

  3. As there are several vineyards in southern Quebec, including in Laval, it is likely that grape rootworm populations will establish themselves and develop on cultivated vines.

  4. As the grape rootworm largely causes damage to vine roots (Pfeiffer 2012), it is likely to remain unnoticed at least until its economic damage becomes obvious or important in vineyards.

  5. The pest status of the grape rootworm is uncertain at the present time. For example, although it is found in Ontario, so far it has not warranted the use of specifically targeted insecticidal sprays in that province. However, although its pest status is currently uncertain in Canada, biovigilance is in order.

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