DOI: 10.3390/insects14120916 ISSN: 2075-4450

Incursion Preparedness, Citizen Science and Early Detection of Invasive Insects: The Case of Aleurocanthus spiniferus (Hemiptera, Aleyrodidae) in France

Jean-Claude Streito, Emilie Mendes, Emmanuel Sanquer, Martin Strugarek, David Ouvrard, Victor Robin-Havret, Laurent Poncet, Christian Lannou, Jean-Pierre Rossi
  • Insect Science

We describe the process by which the quarantine whitefly, Aleurocanthus spiniferus (Hemiptera, Aleyrodidae), was detected in France. The initial observation was made by a volunteer who reported a picture of an adult in the Inventaire National du Patrimoine Naturel (INPN Espèces), a citizen science resource developed by l’Office Français de la Biodiversité and the French Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle. The specimen was suspected to be A. spiniferus from this picture by one of the expert entomologists in charge of the Hemiptera group validation. Once the species was identified, it was mounted on a slide and the information was officially passed on to the ministry in charge of agriculture via a communication channel set up in advance for this type of situation. The ministry then triggered the regulatory actions planned in the event of the suspected detection of quarantine organisms. Sampling was quickly carried out and the specimens collected on this occasion were formally identified as belonging to the species A. spiniferus. This led to the formalization of an outbreak in France. This sequence of decisions took just two months from the first observation to the implementation of a management plan. This case presents how incursion preparedness contributes to a rapid response. Furthermore, this case exemplifies how citizen science can contribute to the early detection of invasive species and highlights the importance of informing both the general public and professionals about major environmental issues.

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