Explanation of Names
Agrilus prionurus Chevrolat 1838
prionurus = 'saw-tailed' (refers to the dentate elytral tips)
markings distinctive; shiny black, with 4 small white spots on elytra
native to Mexico & AZ(2)
, recently reported from TX and now found through eastern half of TX
host: Western Soapberry (Sapindus saponaria
) - Ranges from AZ to LA to KS / n. Mex. (US range
Female lays eggs just under the bark; larva feeds on cambium. A heavily infested tree may be completely girdled. Grown larvae bore into the wood to complete development; adult exits from a D-shaped exit hole.
Infested trees can be easily recognized as the bark falls away, leaving the sapwood exposed. Bark chips may accumulate at the base of the tree. Infested tree is doomed; tree removal & mulching is recommended to destroy insects inside and prevent spreading.
earliest record in our area: TX 2003(3)
Billings R.F., Pase H.A. (2009) Soapberry borer infestations found in 33 counties in Texas. Full text