Anoplophora glabripennis

Name:   Anoplophora glabripennis
Pest Authorities:  (Motschulsky)
Taxonomic Position:  Insecta: Coleoptera: Cerambycidae
Sub-specific Taxon:  
Pest Type:   Insect
Common Name(s):
   Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) (English)
   Asien Bockkäfer (German)
   Sky ox beetle (English translation of Asian common name for Anoplophora spp.)
   Starry night sky beetle (English translation of Asian common name for Anoplophora spp.)
   Cerosterna glabripennis Motschulsky
Numerical Score:  9
Relative Risk Rating:  Very High Risk
Uncertainty:   Very Certain
Establishment Potential Is High Risk
The relevant criteria chosen for this organism are:  
  • Organism has successfully established in location(s) outside its native distribution
  • Suitable climatic conditions and suitable host material coincide with ports of entry or major destinations.
  • Organism has demonstrated ability to utilize new hosts
  • Organism has active, directed host searching capability or is vectored by an organism with directed, host searching capability.
  • Organism has high inoculum potential or high likelihood of reproducing after entry.
Justification: According to data from USDA APHIS-Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ), insects recognized as ALB were intercepted twice and as "Anoplophora sp." 21 times between 1985-1998 (USDA, APHIS 1998). ALB was also intercepted from wood packing material containing Chinese cargo in the United Kingdom in 1998 and in Canada in 1992, 1996-1997, and 1998 (Dawson et al. 1998, Canadian Food Inspection Agency 1998, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Canadian Forest Service 1998). Moreover, ALB and larvae identified as "Anoplophora sp.," associated with Chinese cargo, have escaped detection at ports-of-entry and were found in warehouses in numerous states within the United States (USDA, APHIS 1998) and Canada (Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Canadian Forest Service 1998).

This insect would find climatic conditions suitable for its survival at most North American ports of entry, especially in the humid regions of the Southeastern U.S, which have a climate similar to its native environment. Moreover, its broad host range virtually assures that it would easily adapt to trees indigenous to North America and would have a high likelihood of reproducing after entry. ALB has recently become established in several locations in the U.S.

Spread Potential Is High Risk
The relevant criteria chosen for this organism are:  
  • Organism has demonstrated the ability for redistribution through human-assisted transport.
  • Organism has a high reproductive potential
  • Potential hosts have contiguous distribution.
  • Eradication techniques are unknown, infeasible, or expected to be ineffective.
  • Organism has broad host range.
Justification: Adult are capable of flying several hundred meters in a single flight. Because they can live for up to 66 days, they have the potential to cover considerable distances to locate suitable host trees. However, most adults fly only about 50-75 m to find a host. ALB is easily transported internationally in wood products such as logs, lumber, wooden packing materials, pallets or dunnage. Local human assisted spread is typically via transport of infested firewood. This insect has a relatively high reproductive potential and could find suitable host material in most forest or urban or areas of North America. Adults are large, conspicuous insects that are easily detected when present in large numbers. The immature stages are in wood and difficult to detect. Infestations in New York and Chicago may have been present for 10 years before they were detected.

Economic Potential Is High Risk
The relevant criteria chosen for this organism are:  
  • Organism attacks hosts or products with significant commercial value (such as for timber, pulp, or wood products.
  • Organism directly causes tree mortality or predisposes host to mortality by other organisms.
  • Damage by organism causes a decrease in value of the host affected, for instance, by lowering its market price, increasing cost of production, maintenance, or mitigation, or reducing value of property where it is located.
  • Organism may cause loss of markets (domestic or foreign) due to presence and quarantine significant status.
  • No effective control measure exists.
Justification: ALB is a major forest pest in China. Recent introductions into the U.S. demonstrate a formidable potential for causing damage to many important forest and urban trees in North America.

Eradication efforts in urban areas in New York and Illinois have resulted in the destruction of thousands of trees. Affected areas lose aesthetic and property values as large infested trees are replaced by young, often less desirable ALB resistant trees. Because control options are presently limited to tree removal, control costs are and will likely remain high.

Environmental Potential Is High Risk
The relevant criteria chosen for this organism are:  
  • Organism is expected to cause significant direct environmental effects, such as extensive ecological disruption or large scale reduction of biodiversity.
  • Organism is expected to have direct impacts on species listed by Federal, Provincial, or State agencies as endangered, threatened, or candidate. An example would be insuring a listed plant species.
  • Organism is expected to have indirect impacts on species listed by Federal, Provincial, or State agencies as endangered, threatened, or candidate. This may include disruption of sensitive or critical habitat.
  • Organism may attack host with small native range.
  • Introduction of the organism would likely result in control/eradication programs that may have potential adverse environmental affects.
Justification: Because of its wide host range and ability to kill trees, ALB has the potential to alter many North American ecosystems. This insect has attacked trees in North America not recorded as hosts in Asia (e.g. horse chestnut) and may find more suitable hosts in areas not presently infested. New hosts could include trees with limited natural ranges. ALB is likely to alter tree species composition and age structure in broadleaf forests, especially those comprised largely of maples or poplar. Because willows are among ALB's preferred hosts, additional adverse impacts may occur in wetlands. Moreover, protection of urban areas could involve use of chemical insecticides with accompanying effects on non-target organisms.

In China, Anoplophora glabripennis prefers maple, Acer spp; poplar, Populus spp. and willow, Salix spp. Other hosts include chinaberry, Melia azedarach; mulberry, Morus spp; plum, Prunus spp.; pear, Pyrus spp; black locust, Robina pseudoacacia and elm, Ulmus spp (Lingafelter and Hoebeke 2002).

Thus far in North America, Anoplophora glabripennis has been reported to attack 18 broadleaf tree species in 12 genera. These include horsechestnut and buckeye, Aesculus spp.; green ash, Fraxinus pennsylvanica; rose of Sharon, Hibiscus spp.; birch, Betula spp.; Norway maple, Acer platanoides and box elder, Acer negundo (Lingafelter and Hoebeke 2002, Haack et al. 1997).

     ALB is indigenous to China and Korea. It has a broad distribution in China; north to the area of Beijing, west through Gansu Province and south into Sichuan Province. It occurs throughout Korea (Lingafelter and Hoebeke 2002).
     An introduced infestation of ALB was discovered in Braunau, Austria in July 2001 (Tomiczek 2002).
North America:
      This insect was introduced into the U.S. in the 1990s. Populations were discovered in Brooklyn and Amityville, New York in 1996, Chicago in 1998, and Hoboken/ Jersey City, New Jersey in 2002 (Haack et al. 1997, NJ Department of Environmental Protection 2002, Lingafelter and Hoebeke 2002).
The genus Anoplophora consists of 36 species of wood boring beetles that occur throughout Asia. Most species are striking in their appearance and have exceptionally long antennae. Several species are of economic importance in their native habitat ((Lingafelter and Hoebeke 2002).

The life history of ALB has been studied intensively in China and the U.S. In China, ALB requires1-2 years to develop from egg to adult (Li and Wu 1993, Xiao 1980). However, less than 20% of the population requires two years (Zhang in prep.). Eggs, larvae and pupae overwinter (Li and Wu 1993).

In China, adult flight takes place from April or May to October (Li and Wu 1993, Zhang in prep, Thier 1997), with adult activity peaking in July. In New York and Illinois, adults emerge from July to November. Adult beetles are capable of flying several hundred meters in a single flight. Because they can live for up to 66 days, they have the potential to cover considerable distances to locate suitable host trees (Haack et al. 1997). However they usually fly only about 50-75 m to find a host (Thier 1997).

Newly emerged adults first feed on the bark of twigs and then mate on the trunks and branches of host trees. For egg–laying, the female chews through the bark to the cambium and usually lays one egg. Most females lay from 25 to 40 eggs. Eggs hatch within one to two weeks. The larvae first feed in the cambium region and later enter the wood, tunneling upward for 10 to 30 cm through both sapwood and heartwood. The larvae transform to pupae and then to adults inside the larval galleries in early summer.

The new generation of adults exit through 6-18 mm holes that they chew through the bark (Haack et al. 1997).

Economic Impact:    Although adult beetles can cause twig mortality during their maturation feeding, larvae cause most of the damage as they tunnel through branches and boles of host trees. Individual branches or entire trees can die if larval densities are high or if infestations continue for several years. Before a tree dies, heavily mined branches and stems commonly break, especially during strong winds (Haack et al 1997).

ALB is a serious pest of poplars in China (Schmutzenhofer et al. 1996), where they are grown in large plantations for lumber, sand dune stabilization and other purposes. This insect often degrades poplar lumber to cheap third grade wood suitable for few uses other than packing material. ALB also damages a wide range of other broadleaf trees that may also be used to pack export cargo. The beetle's habit of attacking living or recently cut trees, its lengthy emergence period, and 1-2 year life cycle contribute to its presence in wood cut at any time of year.

In North America, the ALB’s preference for maple is considered a major threat to the lumber and maple sugar industry in the Northeastern U.S. and Canada, homeowner property values and tourism (Haack et al 1997).

A major immediate economic concern is the impact of ALB infestations in on shade and ornamental trees in urban areas. During a recent study, Nowak et al. (2001) estimated that potential tree resources at risk to ALB attack in nine U.S. cities ranged from 12 to 61% of the tree population. Value of these trees was estimated to range from $US 72 million to $US 2.3 billion per city. The corresponding canopy cover loss, assuming that all preferred host trees were killed, ranged from 13-68%. The estimated maximum national potential impact is a loss of 34.9% of total canopy cover, 30.3% tree mortality (1.2 billion trees) and a value loss of $US 669 billion.

Environmental Impact:   ALB has the potential to significantly alter North American forest ecosystems. This insect has attacked genera of trees in North America not recorded as hosts in Asia and may find additional host species in areas not presently infested. ALB is likely to alter dominant species composition and age structure in broadleaf forests, especially those composed largely of maple or poplar. Because willows are among ALB's preferred hosts, additional impact on wetlands may occur. In addition, because ALB develops in Betula and Prunus, the birch, Betula uber, known only from Virginia, and the endangered shrub plum from Florida, Prunus geniculata, may also be suitable hosts (, May 18, 1999).

Control:    Natural enemies and cultural methods for controlling ALB are reported from China (Dai et al. 1988, Ho-shan 1976, Jiang et al. 1991, Liu et al. 1992, Qin et al. 1985, Sun et al. 1990). However ALB remains a serious pest except where susceptible trees (poplars) are replaced with resistant varieties. A common technique for reducing populations in Chinese poplar plantations is to climb infested trees during the adult flight period, collect adults and kill them in a jar of kerosene (W. M. Ciesla, personal observation).

Thus far, the only effective eradication technique available for ALB in North America is to cut and completely destroy infested trees.

Symptoms:    Larval tunneling often results in considerable sap flow from entrance holes on the trunk and limbs of infested trees. Large amounts of sawdust-like frass may be found on the ground near tree trunks or in large crotches of branches. Emerging adults leave large circular exit holes, 6-12 mm in diameter. Yellowing and wilting of leaves, branch dieback and tree death are symptoms of advanced infestation.

Morphology:    Adults are attractive, glossy black beetles with about 20 irregular white or yellow spots on each wing cover (elytron). The antennae are alternately striped white and black and are longer than the body. Adults measure 20-35 mm long and 6-12 mm wide.

Larvae are elongate, cylindrical and pale yellow in color, attaining a maximum length of 50 mm They are similar in appearance to larvae of the genus Monochamus (Cavey et al. 1998).

Testing Methods for Identification:    Although ALB adults are large, striking beetles, they are similar in appearance to other species in the genus Anoplophora (Lingafelter and Hoebeke 2002). They also superficially resemble several longhorned beetles indigenous to North America. These include the cottonwood borer, Plectrodera scalator and the sawyer beetles of the genus Monochamus. Therefore, examination by a taxonomist with expertse in the family Cerambycidae is required for positive identification. Larvae are considerably more difficult to identify than adults. A specialist can identify larvae using descriptions given by Cavey et al. (1998).

ALB has a low dispersal rate. Adults are capable of flying 1000-1200 m per flight but usually fly only 50 to 75 m in search of suitable hosts. Therefore, infestations spread slowly, usually less than 300 m/year in Beijing poplar groves (Thier 1997). Adults are not attracted to lights (Li and Wu 1993).

Like other woodborers, immature stages (eggs, larvae and pupae) can be transported in logs, tree trimmings, firewood and untreated lumber. As evidenced by thriving populations in six United States quarantine areas in New York and Illinois, ALB apparently survives well in ornamental and shade tree plantings in urban and suburban areas. In such non-rural areas, wind-felled branches and dead or dying trees infested with ALB are likely to be removed and transported to other locations. Strong evidence indicates that the Amityville, NY ALB infestation resulted from transportation of infested tree trimmings from the Brooklyn, NY ALB quarantine area.

Infestations in New York and Illinois were estimated at 10 years old when first detected, indicating that ALB's presence may not be readily apparent in the early stages of an infestation. This would allow time for significant spread before infestations are detected.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency. 1998. Intercepted plant pests 1994-1997. Center of Expertise for Plant Quarantine Pests, Canadian Food Inspection Service. 111 pp.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency; Canadian Forest Service. 1998. Forest health alert: Asian long-horned beetle. Ontario, Canada: Canadian Food Inspection Agency; Canadian Forest Service 4 pp.
Cavey, J. F.; Hoebeke, E.R.; Passoa, S.; Lingafelter, S.W. 1998. A new exotic threat to North American hardwood forests: an Asian longhorned beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis Motschulsky) Coleoptera: Cerambycidae: I. Larval description and diagnosis. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 100(2): 373-381.
Dai, L.; Wang, X. 1988. A new subspecies of Bacillus thuringiensis [Abstract]. Microbiologica Sinica 28(4): 301-306.
Dawson, J.L.M.; Bell, J.D.; Allen, E.A.; Humble, L.M. 1998. Exotic insect interceptions from wooden dunnage and packing material. [Abstract]. In: North American Plant Protection Organization Bulletin (in press).
Haack, R.A.; Law, K.R.; Mastro, V.C.; Ossenbruggen, H.S.; Raimo, B.J. 1997. New York's battle with the Asian long-horned beetle. Journal of Forestry 95(12): 11-15.
Ho-shan, L. 1976. Some willow stem borers and their control measures. [Abstract]. Scientia Sinica 19(6): 748-766.
Jiang, S.D.; Wang, G.X.; Zhang, Z.Z.; Li, Y.Z. 1991. A preliminary study on the control of some stem borers of trees using microwave technology. [Abstract]. Forest Pest and Disease (1): 20-22.
Li, W.; Wu, C. 1993. Integrated management of longhorn beetles damaging poplar trees. Beijing, China: Forest Press. 290 pp.
Lingafelter, S.W.; Hoebeke, E.R. 2002. Revision of the genus Anoplophora (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) Washington D.C.: Entomological Society of Washington, 236 pp.
Liu, S.R.; Zhu, C.X.; Lu, X.P. 1992. Field trials of controlling several cerambycid larvae with entomopathogenic nematodes. [Abstract]. Chinese Journal of Biological Control 8(4): 176.
NJ Department of Environmental Protection 2002. The Asian longhorned beetle has been found in New Jersey! The Asian longhorned beetle has been found in New Jersey! On line: ALB.html
Nowak, D.J.; Pasek, J.E.; Sequeira, R.O.; Crane, D.E.; Mastro, V.C. 2001. Potential effect of Anoplophora glabripennis (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) on urban trees in the United States Journal of Economic Entomology 94(1): 116-122.
Qin, X.; Gao, R.; Li, J.; Hao, W.; Liu, K. 1985. Preliminary investigation on the resistance of different clones of poplars to Anoplophora glabripennis (Motsch.). [Abstract]. Scientia Silvae Sinicae 21(3): 310-314.
Schmutzenhofer, H.; Mielke, E.; Luo, Y.; Ostry, M.E.; Wen, J. 1996. Field guide/manual on the identification and management of poplar pests and diseases in the area of the "Three North 009 Project" (North-Eastern China). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. China Forestry Publishing House, 108 pp. (In Chinese and English).
Sun, J.Z.; Zhao, Z.Y.; Ru, T.Q.; Qian, Z.G.; Song, X.J. 1990. Control of Anoplophora glabripennis by using cultural methods. [Abstract]. Forest Pest and Disease, No. 2: 10-12.
Thier, R.W. 1997. USDA, Forest Service, Boise, Idaho, letter, 29 May 1997, describing information from personal communication with Zhou Jian Sheng, Director of Anhui Province Forest Biological Control Center, China. 2 pp.
Tomiczek, C. 2002. First occurrence of the “Asian longhorned beetle”, Anoplophora glabripennis (Motschulsky) in Europe. Federal Forest Research Centre, Vienna, Austria, 2 pp.
USDA, APHIS. 1998. Solid wood packing material from China - initial pest risk assessment on certain wood boring beetles known to be associated with cargo shipments: Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis), Ceresium, Monochamus, and Hesperophanes. http://
Xiao, G., ed. 1980. Forest insects of China. Beijing, China: Forest Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Forestry. 1107 pp.
Zhang, Q. (in prep). . Glabrous spotted willow borer, Anoplophora glabripennis (Motschulsky). Draft manuscript with correspondence dated 1 Nov. 1996 between Q. Zhang, Northern Forest Biological Control Center, Ministry of Forestry, Shenyang, China and M. Montgomery, USDA, Forest Service, Hamden, CT, for inclusion in a book.
Joseph F. Cavey
Name and Address of the First Author:
Joseph F. Cavey
USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
4700 River Rd., Unit 33
Riverdale, MD
USA 20737
CREATION DATE:        02/08/00
MODIFICATION DATE:        09/07/00

Selected images from Forestry Images (
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Photo by Donald Duerr,
USDA Forest Service


Life Cycle
Photo by Kenneth R. Law,


Photo by Kenneth R. Law,


Photo by Michael Bohne,
USDA Forest Service


exit hole
Photo by Larry R. Barber,
USDA Forest Service


adult feeding damage (stripped bark)
Photo by Dean Morewood,
Pennsylvania State University


Insecticide impregnated sticks placed into the holes created by newly emerged larvae, China.
Photo by Gillian Allard,
FAO of United Nations