Ophelimus maskelli Ashmead
Common name: Eucalyptus gall wasp.
Geographical distribution: Australia, New Zealand, Mediterranean Region, Middle East.
Host plants: Eucalyptus.
Morphology: A small species (about 1.00 mm in length),
Life cycle: Females attack immature leaves 15-90 days old in the lower tree canopy, where leaves are relatively large while still green. In Israel the pest raises three annual generations. The first occurs between mid-march and July, the second between July and September. The third generation lives from October to next March, the overwintering larvae staying within galls. A female lays about 100 eggs, and each induces a gall.
Economic importance: Heavy infestations induce much galling in leaves, which results in widespread defoliation and loss of growth and vigor in susceptible trees. Mass emergence of wasps in the spring may be a nuisance due to their forming “clouds”, and school pupils have been sent home because of this annoyance. Management
Monitoring: Green sticky traps are used to monitor and sample the pest and its natural enemy. Remote sensing was developed as a tool for the early detection of infestations of Eucalyptus leaves.
Biological control: The eulophid parasitoid Closterocerus chamaeleon (Girault) was released in Israel and in several Mediterranean countries, spread rapidly and has greatly reduced pest damage and numbers.
Branco, M., Boavida, C., Durand, N., Franco, J.C. and Mendel, Z. 2009. Presence of the Eucalyptus gall wasp Ophelimus maskelli and its parasitoid Closterocerus chamaeleon in Portugal: First record, geographic distribution and host preference. Phytoparasitica 37: 51–54.
Lo Verde, G., Rizzo, R., Barraco, G and, Lombardo, A. 2011. Effects of kaolin on Ophelimus maskelli (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) in laboratory and nursery experiments. Journal of Economic Entomology 104: 180-187.
Protasov, A., Blumberg, D., Brand, D., La Salle, and Mendel, Z. 2007. Biological control of the eucalyptus gall wasp Ophelimus maskelli (Ashmead): taxonomy and biology of the parasitoid species Closterocerus chamaeleon (Girault), with information on its establishment in Israel. Biological Control 42: 196–206.
Protasov, A. (and 7 co-authors). 2007. Biology, revised taxonomy and impact on host plants of Ophelimus maskelli, an invasive gall inducer on Eucalyptus spp. in the Mediterranean area. Phytoparasitica 35: 50-76.
Spodek, M., Nestel, D., Alchanatis, V., and Mendel, Z. 2008. Investigations into the viability of remote sensing as a management tool for gall wasp, Ophelimus maskelli Ashmead infestations of eucalyptus trees. Israel Journal of Entomology 38: 159.