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SEEFOR 11(2): early view
Article ID: 2014

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15177/seefor.20-14


First Record of Cacopsylla pulchella (Hemiptera, Psyllidae) in Albania

Ejup Çota1*, Marta Kovač2, Milan Pernek2*

(1) Agricultural University of Tirana, Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, Plant Protection Department, Kodër Kamëz, SH1, Tiranë 1000, Albania (2) Croatian Forest Research Institute, Division for Forest Protection and Game Management, Cvjetno naselje 41, HR-10450 Jastrebarsko, Croatia

* Correspondence: e-mail: ecota@ubt.edu.al; milanp@sumins.hr

Citation: Çota E, Kovač M, Pernek M, 2020. First Record of Cacopsylla pulchella Low 1877 (Hemiptera, Psyllidae) in Albania. South-east Eur for 11(2): early view. https://doi.org/10.15177/seefor.20-14.

Received: 2 Sep 2020; Revised: 7 Oct 2020; Accepted: 8 Oct 2020; Published online: 28 Oct 2020.

Cited by:     Crossref     Google Scholar


The aim of this study is to identify plant lice Cacopsylla pulchella as a new alien insect in the fauna of Albania. In order to assess the potential of this insect as a pest causing damages on trees, infestation level assessment was used. In the first decade of June 2020 samples were collected at three locations in Albania, where Cercis siliquastrum is grown. Samples were collected and brought to the laboratory for further analysis. Field research was performed to assess distribution and infestation intensity across various localities. The intensity of infestation was assessed by visual examination and was categorized according to previously determined categories. C. pulchella was confirmed on C. siliquastrum in three localities in Albania. Most of the infested trees had a moderate or high intensity of infestation. Compared to the results of other countries, it seems that the Judas trees are under heavy attack in Albania. Librazhd and Elbansn districts had the highest recorded infestation level. Infested trees found in this study should be inspected in the following years and this alien insect should be further monitored in order to estimate its potential of becoming an invasive pest in this country.

Keywords: alien pest; Cercis siliquastrum; Judas tree; damage; infestation


The most important alien invasive species regarding their number and impact belong to the group of insects (Brockerhoff and Liebhold 2017). Out of them, around 400 species feed on woody plants in Europe (Roques et al. 2016) and new species are still being introduced (Seebens et al. 2017). In Albania, 267 insect and mite alien species have been recorded to date (Tomov et al. 2009, Paparisto et al. 2010).

Cacopsylla pulchella Low (Hemiptera, Psyllidae) is a jumping plant–lice that is considered to be an alien species in Europe (Mifsud et al. 2010) and was first recorded in 1964 in France (Hodkinson and White 1979). It was also confirmed in many European countries such as Austria, Great Britain, Greece, Switzerland (Zeidan-Gèze and Burckhardt 1998), Germany, Italy, Ukraine (Burckhardt 2010), Spain, Portugal (Sánchez 2011), Slovenia (Seljak 2006), Hungary (Ripka 2008), Serbia (Jerinić-Prodanović 2011), Russia (Balakhnina et al. 2015) and Croatia (Pernek et al. 2020). It was also found in Israel (Spodek et al. 2017) and Lebanon (Zeidan-Gèze and Burckhardt 1998). The main hosts are Judas trees, Cercis siliquastrum L. (Burckhardt 1999, Onillon 2016) and C. canadensis L. (Balakhnina et al. 2015).

Judas tree is a valued ornamental plant in the Mediterranean regions of Albania. Attacks of C. pulchella could reduce the ornamental value of the trees by causing chlorosis and wilting of leaves (Rapisarda and Belcari 1997).

According to Fauna Europea, C. pulchella has been absent in Albania (de Jong 2016). This is the first record of this pest in this area. In this study, its potential as a pest causing damages on trees was also assessed.



Samples were collected at the beginning of June 2020 at three locations in Albania, mostly in the Mediterranean area, where Judas trees are grown in parks as well as in natural stands (Figure 1).


Figure 1.Collection sites of Cacopsylla pulchella in Albania.


Adults and nymphs of C. pulchella were collected together with plant material and brought to the Entomo-logical laboratory in Plant Protection Department, Faculty of Agriculture and Environment of the Agricultural University of Tirana for further analysis. They were identified according to the keys by Hodkinson and White (1979), Loginova (1964) and Burckhardt (1999). All samples are kept in Plant Protection Department.

Additional field research was performed in order to assess distribution and infestation intensity across various localities in Albania (Figure 1). The intensity of infestation was assessed by visual examination and was categorized into four categories (Pernek et al. 2020): 0) no symptoms visible from distance or when observing single leaves, 1) low - symptoms are not visible when looking at the whole tree, only few specimens can be detected sporadically on single leaves, 2) moderate – symptoms are barely visible when looking at the whole tree, more than 5 specimens can be counted on 50% of the observed leaves; 3) high – symptoms are visible when looking at the whole tree from distance, more than 10 specimens can be counted on at least 50% of the observed leaves.



This is the first record of C. pulchella in Albania and its presence was confirmed in all inspected localities (Table 1). Most of the trees (70%) had a moderate or high intensity of infestation (Table 1). When comparing this result with results from Croatia, where infested trees have had mostly a low or moderate intensity of infestation (Pernek et al. 2020), it seems that the Judas trees are under heavy attack in Albania. Librazhd and Elbansn districts had the highest recorded infestation level.


Table 1. Locality, address, geographic coordinates, number of checked trees and intensity of infestation.


Introduction pathway of C. pulchella to Albania is unknown and these first records (in Mediterranean and a part of the continental area) may be independent from each other. Considering its wide distribution and high infestation level along the Albanian coast (Table 1), we can assume that this species has already been present in this area for several years or longer.

Adults of C. pulchella are olive-drab or brownish green with orange stripes on the thorax. The abdomen is dark brown and the intersegmental membranes are orange-red. On the forewings black-brown spots can be found. The genital plates of males are almost straight black-colored, while females’ lower genital plates are yellow, long as the previous three segments and sharpened at the end, and the upper genital plates are brown or dark brown, not smaller than the lower. Nymphs have five stages of development, the first are yellow with red eyes which are very active, while the following instars are green, settle more or less without much moving on leaves and suck the sup (Figure 2). Eggs are laid inside of the leaf buds, on stipules and very young leaves, as well as developing fruits. All life stages are being found on leaves of the host, mostly on their undersides. In general, C. pulchella produces three generations per year, but its population dynamics are dependent on the host plant growth dynamics (Onillon 2016). In this research, some leaves were heavily attacked and damages were visible in the form of necrotic spots (Figure 3).


Figure 2. Cacopsylla pulchella nymps.


Figure 3. Damages on Judas tree leaves.


In Albania, Judas trees are planted as ornamental solitary trees or in alleys, mostly in the Mediterranean area. So far, there have been no serious threats by harmful insects or diseases to these tree species, but C. pulchella could cause damages that can consequently even lead to the premature leaf fall. The main problem is the emission of honeydew, in a form of a small spherical drops covered with waxy secretion, which causes necrotic areas on leaves (Rapisarda and Belcari 1997) and represents a nuisance to inhabitants as well. Infested trees found in this study should be inspected in the following years and this alien insect should be further monitored in order to estimate its potential of becoming an invasive pest (Lockwood et al. 2007).


Author Contributions
EÇ conceived and designed the research and carried out the field measurements, EÇ and MP performed laboratory analysis, EÇ supervised the research, MP and MK wrote the manuscript.

No fundings.

Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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© 2020 by the Croatian Forest Research Institute. This is an Open Access paper distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0).