Pest categorisation of Hishimonus phycitis

leafhopper, pest risk, phytoplasma, plant pest, quarantine, vector, Witches’ broom disease of lime
First published in the EFSA Journal
25 October 2017
28 September 2017
Scientific Opinion


The Panel on Plant Health performed a pest categorisation of Hishimonus phycitis (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) for the EU. H. phycitis is a well-defined species, occurring in tropical and subtropical Asian countries from Iran to Malaysia. H. phycitis is polyphagous. Hosts of particular relevance to the EU include Citrus spp. and Solanum melongena. While harmful in its own right as a leafhopper extracting host nutrients through feeding, it is regarded in the Middle East more significantly as a vector of Witches' broom disease of lime phytoplasma, which limits production of Citrus aurantifolia, and in India as a vector of brinjal little-leaf phytoplasma impacting S. melongenayields. H. phycitis is currently regulated by Council Directive 2000/29/EC, listed in Annex II/AI as Hishomonus phycitis (sic). Eggs planted on host plants for planting could provide a pathway for entry into the EU. The EU has eco-climatic conditions that are also found in countries where H. phycitis occurs although it is unknown whether H. phycitis occurs in those areas. There is therefore considerable uncertainty around EU establishment. Any establishment is likely to be limited to the warmest areas around the Mediterranean. As a free-living organism with adults capable of flight, spread within the EU would be possible but confined to the limited area where establishment could occur. Measures are available to inhibit entry via traded commodities (e.g. prohibition on the introduction of Citrus plants for planting; sourcing other hosts from pest free areas). H. phycitis does satisfy all of the criteria that are within the remit of EFSA to assess to be regarded as a Union quarantine pest. It is uncertain if eggs of H. phycitis would carry phytoplasmas into the EU as transovarial transmission from infected females to eggs has not been demonstrated.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Claude Bragard, David Caffier, Thierry Candresse, Elisavet Chatzivassiliou, Katharina Dehnen-Schmutz, Gianni Gilioli, Jean-Claude Gregoire, Josep Anton Jaques Miret, Michael Jeger, Alan MacLeod, Maria Navajas Navarro, Björn Niere, Stephen Parnell, Roel Potting, Trond Rafoss, Vittorio Rossi, Gregor Urek, Ariena Van Bruggen, Wopke Van der Werf, Jonathan West and Stephan Winter.
Panel on Plant Health
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EFSA Journal 2017;15(10):5037
Question Number
On request from
European Commission