New moth species invades Italy's vineyards | Plant Pests - Global Travellers |

New species for Europe was identified in Italy (Trentino and Veneto Region). A leaf miner Antispila oinophylla (Lepidoptera, Heliozelidae) is common in North America. Since the initial discovery in 2006, the pest spread to several additional Italian provinces. In 2010 the incidence of infestation was locally high in commercial vineyards.

BBC News has just reported about new moth species invading Italy's vineyards. They said that the pest was first discovered by Italian scientists in 2006, but they were unable to identify it.

An original resarch article  has been written by van Nieukerken et al. (2012) and they admit unclarity in identification and taxonomy. The species Antispila oinophylla is closely related to, and previously confused with Antispila ampelopsifoliella Chambers, 1874, a species feeding on Virginia creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L.) Planchon.

Using barcodes the authors indicated that the Italian populations are recently established from eastern North America. The new species feeds on various wild Vitis species in North America, on cultivated Vitis vinifera L. in Italy, and also on Parthenocissus quinquefolia in Italy.

In Italy the biology of Antispila oinophylla was studied in a vineyard in the Trento Province in 2008 and 2009. Mature larvae overwinter inside their cases, fixed to vine trunks or training stakes. The first generation flies in June. An additional generation occurs from mid-August onwards. The impact of the pest in this vineyard was significant with more than 90% of leaves infested in mid-summer.

Nieukerken EJ van, Wagner DL,  Baldessari M, Mazzon M, Angeli G, Girolami V, Duso C, Doorenweerd C (2012) Antispila oinophylla new species (Lepidoptera, Heliozelidae), a new North American grapevine leafminer invading Italian vineyards: taxonomy, DNA barcodes and life cycle.- ZooKeys 170: 29–77, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.170.2617