Pest categorisation of Scirtothrips aurantii
The Panel on Plant Health performed a pest categorisation of the South African citrus thrips, Scirtothrips aurantii Faure (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), for the European Union (EU). This is a well-defined and distinguishable species, recognised as a pest of citrus and mangoes in South Africa, which has been cited on more than 70 different plants, including woody and herbaceous species. It feeds exclusively on young actively growing foliage and fruit. S. aurantii is not known to occur in the EU and is listed in Annex IIAI of 2000/29/EC as a harmful organism presenting a risk to EU plant health. The international trade of hosts as either plants for planting or cut flowers provide potential pathways into the EU. However, current EU legislation prohibits the import of citrus plants. Furthermore, measures aimed at the import of plants for planting in a dormant stage (no young foliage or fruits present) with no soil/growing medium attached, decreases the likelihood of the pest entry with such plants. Interceptions have occurred on Eustoma grandiflorum cut flowers. Considering climatic similarities between some of the countries where S. aurantii occurs (South Africa, Australia) and the EU, its thermal biology and host distribution in the EU, S. aurantii has the potential to establish, especially in citrus-growing regions of the EU. S. aurantii would most probably breed all year long around the Mediterranean and could cause crop losses in citrus, especially oranges. Phytosanitary measures are available to inhibit the introduction of S. aurantii. Considering the criteria within the remit of EFSA to assess its status as a potential Union quarantine pest (QP) or as a potential regulated non-quarantine pest (RNQP), S. aurantii meets with no uncertainties the criteria assessed by EFSA for consideration as a potential Union QP.