Fuchsia Gall Mite
Fuchsia gall mite (Aculops fuchsiae)
The fuchsia gall mite Aculops fuchsiae Keifer (Eriophyidae) is an EPPO A1 and EU II/A1 quarantine listed pest that attacks and seriously damages Fuchsia spp. Its presence in Europe was confirmed for the first time in December 2003 from specimens collected from 8 sites around the gulf of Morbihan, Brittany, France. Since then it has spread widely within Brittany. The French plant health service speculated that it may have been introduced from the Americas by the exchange of propagating material between private Fuchsia enthusiasts. There is now strong evidence that this pest was introduced in 2001/02 with fuchsia cuttings illegally imported from South America by a Fuchsia enthusiast on the Island of Jersey, and has been in England since 2007.
Aculops fuchsiae was described in 1972 from specimens discovered on a Fuchsia sp. from Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil. In 1981 it was introduced into California, USA around San Francisco and spread rapidly through the southern part of the state. In December 2003 it was officially confirmed as present in Brittany, France, but was first seen in France in 2002 at the Festival de Trévarez, Brittany (May-September) on a Fuchsia brought in by a private collector. In 2006 it was detected on the Islands of Guernsey (July) and Jersey (October). In September 2007 it was confirmed as present on mainland Britain in two private gardens, one in Hampshire, one in Middlesex. It has been detected every year since then in numerous locations in southern England, with the distribution best described as, south of a line connecting Bristol in the west to Chelmsford in the east (see distribution map which includes records from the Royal Horticultural Society), with most records coming from the south and southwest coast.
Records of fuchsia gall mite in southern England between 2007 and January 2012
Aculops fuchsiae is known to attack at least three species of Fuchsia: F. arborescens, F. magellanica and F. procumbens, and more than 30 different cultivars. Six species, one sub-species and several cultivars are noted to be highly resistant to attack by this mite including Baby Chang, Chance Encounter, Cinnabarina, F. boliviana, F. minutiflora, F. microphylla subsp. hindalgensis, F. radicans, F. thymifolia, F. tincta, F. venusta, Isis, Mendocino Mini, Miniature Jewels, Ocean Mist and Space Shuttle.
Adult mites are extremely small, measuring between 200 and 250 μm in length and 55-60 μm in width (Figure 2). As with most eriophyoid mites the body is wormlike or fusiform in shape, generally pale yellow to white in colour and bears only two anterior pairs of legs. Because of their size the mites are very difficult to see in the field and it is the host symptoms that first indicate the presence of this pest.
Various life stages of Aculops fuchsiae Keifer feeding on the surface if a flower stalk. Adult mite arrowed
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