Orthotomicus erosus

Orthotomicus erosus (Wollaston)

Systematic position: Insecta, Holometabola, Coleoptera, Scolytidae.

Common name: Mediterranean pine beetle.

Geographic distribution: Africa, Asia, South America, and Europe.

Morphology: The larvae are white with a dark-red head, body ‘C’-shaped, apodous. The adults are 3-4 mm long and reddish-brown. The head is overhung by a thoracic shield, thus not visible from above. The elytra are punctuated with parallel-sided depressions, bear four strong spines on each side and tufts of short hairs caudally.

Host plants: Pines (Pinus spp.) and Cupressus spp.

Life history: The breeding sites of the beetle were generally in the lower parts of trunks and the main branches of more than 5 cm in diameter. The male excavates a nuptial chamber and is then joined by a female. After mating the female begins to prepare an egg gallery in the cambial zone and the outer xylem. The larvae tunnel, feed and pupate therein. The pest raises several annual generations and disperses by flight.

Economic importance: A major pest of pines in Israel which in recent years has killed many Pinus halepensis Mill. trees as well as of P. brutia Tenore and introduced pines. Outbreaks had occurred mainly when tree thinning was followed by dry winters with low rainfall, or after fires.


Monitoring: The flight of the beetle can be monitored by using funnel traps with the aggregation pheromone Pheroprax.

Plant Resistance: Certain pine species are tolerant to the pest.

Biological Control: This beetle has several natural enemies, including the braconid Dendrosoter caenopachoides Ruschka, and the Colydiid predator Aulonium ruficorne. The latter can greatly reduce pest populations.


Mendel, Z. 1988. Attraction of Orthotomicus erosus and Pityogenes calcaratus to a synthetic aggregation pheromone of Ips typographus. Phytoparasitica 16: 109-117.

Mendel, Z., Boneh, O. Shenhar, Y. and Riov. J. 1991. Diurnal flight patterns of Orthotomicus erosus and Pityogenes calcaratus in Israel. Phytoparasitica 19: 23-31.

Mendel, Z., Boneh, O. and Riov. J. 1992. Some foundations for the application of aggregation pheromone to control pine bark beetles in Israel. Journal of Applied Entomology 114: 217–227.

Mendel, Z, and Halperin, J, 1982. The biology and behavior of Orthotomicus erosus in Israel. Phytoparasitica 10: 169-181.

Podoler, H., Mendel, Z. and Livne, H. 1990. Studies on the biology of a bark beetle predator, Aulonium ruficorne (Coleoptera: Colydiidae). Environmental Entomology 19: 1010-1016.

Tribe, G.D, and Kfir, R. 2001. The establishment of Dendrosoter caenopachoides (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), introduced into South Africa for the biological control of Orthotomicus erosus (Coleoptera: Scolytidae), with additional notes on D. sp. nr. labdacus. African Entomology 9:195-198.