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Pest categorisation of citrus snow scale

9 March 2018

The Panel on Plant Health performed a pest categorisation of the citrus snow scale, Unaspis  citri (Comstock) (Hemiptera: Diaspididae), for the European Union (EU). This is a well-defined and distinguishable species, native to south-eastern Asia, which has spread to many tropical and subtropical regions. U.  citrican be a pest of citrus and has been cited on over 28 different species in 16 plant families. In the EU,U.  citri occurs in the Azores.

There is uncertainty as to whether it occurs in continental Portugal. Reports of it occurring in Greece and Spain are likely to be invalid and based on interception records from these countries. An old Italian record is a misidentification. U.  citriis listed in Annex IIAI of2000/29/EC as a harmful organism. The international trade of hosts, as either plants for planting, fruit or cut flowers, provide potential pathways into the EU. However, current EU legislation prohibits the import of citrus plants for planting from third countries. U.  citriis mostly confined to coastal humid tropical areas and does not occur in semi-arid areas that are irrigated.

Nevertheless, given that it occurs in the Azore sand that there are regional climatic similarities between places where U.  citri occurs and climates within the EU, and taking EU host distribution into account, U.  citri has the potential to establish in the EU, especially in citrus-growing regions around the Mediterranean where losses in quality and yield of citrus could occur. Phytosanitary measures are available to inhibit the likelihood of introduction of U.  citri.

Considering the criteria within the remit of EFSA to assess the status as a potential Union quarantine pest(QP), or as a potential regulated non-quarantine pest (RNQP),U.  citri meets the criteria assessed by EFSA for consideration as a potential Union QP.

To see the full EFSA report click here.

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