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Leptocybe invasa Fisher & La Salle

(Life: Kingdom: Metazoa (animals); Phylum: Arthropoda; Class: Hexapoda; Order: Hymenoptera; Superfamily: Chalcidoidea; Family: Eulophidae; Subfamily: Tetrastichinae; Genus: Leptocybe)

Leptocybe invasa Fisher & La Salle, 2004

Figs 2–7. Leptocybe invasa female: (2) forewing; (3) antenna; (4) head, frontal view; (5) head, dorsal view; (6) head and mesosoma, lateral view; (7) gaster, lateral view (from Mendel et al. 2004).

Figs 8–11. Leptocybe invasa female: (8) mesosoma; (9) head and mesoscutum; (10) mesoscutum; (11) scutellum, dorsellum and propodeum (from Mendel et al. 2004).

Figs 12–16. Gall formation in Leptocybe invasa: (12) leaf 3 days after oviposition showing white secretions from the oviposition wounds; (13) leaf after 3 weeks, showing early stages of gall formation; (14) gall after 6–7 weeks; (15–16) mature galls, showing exit holes (from Mendel et al. 2004).

Figs 17–20. Development of Leptocybe invasa: (17) gall cut open to show 10-week old L. invasa larvae; (18) gall cut open to show a mature L. invasa larva; (19) gall cut open to show mature L. invasa pupae; (20) adult L. invasa emerging from gall (from Mendel et al. 2004).


An Australian species first recorded in Middle East and Mediterranean region in 2000, has since spread down through Africa, reaching South Africa in 2007. Two genetically distinct lineages of this wasp have been detected outside its native range: Leptocybe Lineage A and Leptocybe Lineage B (Dittrich-Schröder et al., 2018; Gevers et al., 2020).


Devastates Euclayptus plantations by forming galls on leaves, deforming foliage and stunting growth.


No effective measures established. Insecticides have some effect in preventing infestations on nursery saplings. There is potential for implementation of biocontrol through introduction of suitable parasitoid agents, and/or selection of resistant tree genotypes. The parasitoid Selitrichodes neseri Kelly & La Salle, 2012 has been released in South Africa as a biological control agent against Leptocybe invasa (Kelly et al. 2012; Gevers etal., 2020). Several Megastigmus species (Megastigmatidae) are parasitoids (Megastigmus zebrinus Grissell, 2006), or potential parasitoids (Megastigmus pretorianensis Doǧanlar, 2011) (Doǧanlar, 2015; Gevers et al., 2020); Quadrastichus mendeli Kim & La Salle (Tetrastichinae) is a further parasitoid released as a biological control agent in Israel in 2003 (Kim et al., 2008; Mendel et al., 2017; Zheng et al., 2014) and recorded in South Africa in 2017 as an apparent unintentional introduction (Bush et al., 2017; Gevers et al., 2020). Selitrichodes neseri, Quadrastichus mendeli and Megastigmus zebrinus  were confirmed to parasitize Leptocybe invasa Lineage A, and S. neseri was confirmed to parasitize Leptocybe invasa Lineage B; additionally these parasitoids have been established to parasitize each other (Gevers et al., 2020).


FABI web site: http://www.fabinet.up.ac.za


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Nugnes, F., Gebiola, M., Monti, M.M., Gualtieri, L., Giorgini, M., Wang, J. & Bernardo, U. 2015. Genetic diversity of the invasive gall wasp Leptocybe invasa (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) and of its Rickettsia endosymbiont, and associated sex-ratio differences. PLoS One 10: 1–20.

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Protasov, A., Doğanlar, M., La Salle, J., Mendel, Z. 2008. Occurrence of two local Megastigmus species parasitic on the Eucalyptus gallwasp Leptocybe invasa in Israel and Turkey. Phytoparasitica, 36(5): 449-459.

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Zheng, X.L., Li, J., Yang, Z.D. et al. 2014. A review of invasive biology, prevalence and management of Leptocybe invasa Fisher & La Salle (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae: Tetrastichinae). African Entomology 22: 68–79.


Photographs © Mendel, Protasov, Fisher & La Salle.

Web author Simon van Noort (Iziko South African Museum)


Citation: van Noort, S. 2021. WaspWeb: Hymenoptera of the Afrotropical region. URL: www.waspweb.org (accessed on <day/month/year>).

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