Pest categorisation of Scaphoideus luteolus

Candidatus Phytoplasma ulmi, European Union, pest risk, phloem feeding, quarantine, vector, white-banded elm leafhopper
First published in the EFSA Journal
27 February 2019
31 January 2019
Scientific Opinion


The Panel on Plant Health performed a pest categorisation of Scaphoideus luteolus, a well‐defined phloem sap‐feeding insect species in the family Cicadellidae (Insecta: Hemiptera). It can be identified using taxonomic keys. S. luteolus is only present in the eastern part of the USA. The main host plants of S. luteolus are species of the genus Ulmus (U. americana,U. alata, U. bergmanianna, U. szechuanica, U. rubra), but specimens have also been collected on Vitis sp., Salix sp. and Populus sp. The species does not cause damage by itself, but it is the only confirmed vector of the phytoplasma Candidatus Phytoplasma ulmi (CPu), which is present in North America where it causes heavy damage to the local elms, as well as in some European countries where the local elms are considered less susceptible. S. luteolus has three developmental stages (egg, nymph, adult). It overwinters in the egg stage, takes 36–42 days to complete nymphal stage, and adults are found throughout the summer period. Both nymphs and adults are capable of transmitting CPu and, after acquiring the pathogen, remain infective for the rest of their life. The main pathways are cut branches and plants for planting. These pathways are not regulated for the main host, Ulmus, though requirements are in place in relation to other pests on Ulmus. These pathways are also not regulated for Salix. Establishment would be favoured by the wide coverage of Ulmus spp. in the EU territory and by climatic conditions comparable to those of the pest's native range. S. luteolus meets all the criteria assessed by EFSA for consideration as potential Union quarantine pest. The criteria for considering it as a potential Union regulated non‐quarantine pest are not met since the species is absent from the EU.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Claude Bragard, Katharina Dehnen‐Schmutz, Francesco Di Serio, Paolo Gonthier, Marie‐Agnès Jacques, Josep Anton Jaques Miret, Annemarie Fejer Justesen, Alan MacLeod, Christer Sven Magnusson, Panagiotis Milonas, Juan A. Navas‐Cortes, Stephen Parnell, Roel Potting, Philippe L. Reignault, Hans‐Hermann Thulke, Wopke Van der Werf, Antonio Vicent, Jonathan Yuen, Lucia Zappalà.
Panel on Plant Health
alpha [at]
EFSA Journal 2019;17(2):5616
Question Number
On request from
European Commission