Pentodon algerinum

Pentodon algerinum (Herbst)

(Also known as Pentodon bispinosus (Küster)).

Pentodon algerinum has several subspecies, the one in east Mediterranean countries is Pentodon algerinum dispar Baudi.

Common name: Apple chafer.

Systematic position: Insecta, Holometabola, Coleoptera, Scarabaidae.

Distribution: Mediterranean countries, Saudi Arabia.

Host plants: Polyphagous.

Morphology: The adult is black-brown, sometimes with bluish hues, about 20 mm in length. The grown larva is almost 50 mm long, dirty-white, posterior part broader, covered with fine hairs, head and legs brownish.

Life history: The larvae live in the soil, feeding on roots, mainly of grasses, but also of various vegetables, corn (Zea mays L.) and sugar beets (Beta vulgaris L.). They are active during autumn to early summer, their numbers peaking in early spring.

Economic importance: In Israel P. algerinum is an occasional serious pest of young apple roots, at times even of elderly trees. Their feeding results in much leaf wilting and even tree death. Roses may also be affected.


Chemical control: Various pesticides, applied to the soil in granular form, provide good chafer control.

Biological control: In Crete the pest is attacked by the parasitoid Scolia sp. (Scoliidae). Various vertebrate predators feed on P. algerinum in the soil and may actually reduce its numbers. In laboratory experiments several nematode species killed 50-70% of the pests.


Barkay, A. 1950. A chafer, a new pest of fruit trees. Hassadeh 30: 367-368 (in Hebrew).

Drumont, A. and Warzée, N. 2000. Contribution à la connaissance du genre Pentodon Hope : découverte de la présence de Pentodon algerinum (Herbst) en Crète (Coleoptera: Dynastidae). Lambillionea 100 298-304.

Faragalla, A.R. 2000. Major species of the dung beetles (Superfamily: Scarabaeoidea) in three ecological systems in western Saudi Arabia. Archives of Phytopathology and Plant Protection 33: 223-237.

Hussein, M.A.; Nour el-din, M.M., Abdel-Rahman, H. and Homam, H.B.1996. Field evaluation of some insecticidal efficiency against white grub, Pentodon bispinosus in tomato field at Ismailiya governorate. Egyptian-German Society for Zoology 79-89.

Ibrahim, S.A.M., Sawsan S. Y. and El Azeem, A.M. 2010. Molecular and biochemical characterization of the nematode-insect relationship. Arab Journal of Biotechnology 13: 73-84.

Tantawi, A.M., Mahmoud, A.A., Tar, E.A., Atrees, I. and Morcos, 1986. Studies on the chemical control of the white grub; Pentodon bispinosus Kun. in sugar-cane fields. Agricultural Research Review 61: 85-92.