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Invasive beetle could threaten Ecuador’s eucalyptus plantations

The arrival of the eucalyptus snout beetle threatens the country’s eucalyptus trees – but they themselves are an invasive threat to local species

By Sofia Quaglia

4 October 2023

The eucalyptus snout beetle (Gonipterus scutellatus)

The eucalyptus snout beetle (Gonipterus scutellatus)


The eucalyptus snout beetle – a species named for its habit of defoliating the flowering plant – has been officially identified in Ecuador for the first time. The discovery suggests that the insect is in the process of spreading across South America, which might threaten the continent’s eucalyptus population – an important economic resource.

The beetle (Gonipterus scutellatus) is native to eastern Australia and Tasmania. But since the 19th century, it has spread elsewhere, including to New Zealand and Europe, hitching rides on cargo ships.

On several …

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