A grapevine leafminer Antispila oinophylla van Nieukerken & Wagner, sp. n., is described both from eastern North America (type locality: Georgia) and as a new important invader in North Italian vineyards (Trentino and Veneto Region) since 2006. The species is closely related to, and previously confused with A. ampelopsifoliella Chambers, 1874, a species feeding on Virginia creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L.) Planchon., and both are placed in an informal A. ampelopsifoliella group. Wing pattern, genitalia, and DNA barcode data all confirm the conspecificity of native North American populations and Italian populations. COI barcodes differ by only 0–1.23%, indicating that the Italian populations are recently established from eastern North America. The new species feeds on various wild Vitis species in North America, on cultivated Vitis vinifera L. in Italy, and also on Parthenocissus quinquefolia in Italy. North American Antispila feeding on Parthenocissus include at least two other species, one of which is A. ampelopsifoliella. Morphology and biology of the new species are contrasted with those of North American Antispila Hübner, 1825 species and European Holocacista rivillei (Stainton, 1855). The source population of the introduction is unknown, but cases with larvae or pupae, attached to imported plants, are a likely possibility. DNA barcodes of the three European grapevine leafminers and those of all examined Heliozelidae are highly diagnostic. North American Vitaceae-feeding Antispila form two species complexes and include several as yet unnamed taxa. The identity of three out of the four previously described North American Vitaceae-feeding species cannot be unequivocally determined without further revision, but these are held to be different from A. oinophylla. In Italy the biology of A. oinophylla was studied in a vineyard in the Trento Province (Trentino-Alto Adige Region) in 2008 and 2009. Mature larvae overwinter inside their cases, fixed to vine trunks or training stakes. The first generation flies in June. An additional generation occurs from mid-August onwards. The impact of the pest in this vineyard was significant with more than 90% of leaves infested in mid-summer. Since the initial discovery in 2006, the pest spread to several additional Italian provinces, in 2010 the incidence of infestation was locally high in commercial vineyards. Preliminary phylogenetic analyses suggest that Antispila is paraphyletic, and that the Antispila ampelopsifoliella group is related to Coptodisca Walsingham, 1895, Holocacista Walsingham & Durrant, 1909 and Antispilina Hering, 1941, all of which possess reduced wing venation. Vitaceae may be the ancestral hostplant family for modern Heliozelidae.

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Staff publications

van Nieukerken, E., Wagner, D., Baldessari, M., Mazzon, L., Angeli, G., Girolami, V., … Doorenweerd, C. (2012). Antispila oinophylla new species (Lepidoptera, Heliozelidae), a new North American grapevine leafminer invading Italian vineyards: taxonomy, DNA barcodes and life cycle. ZooKeys, 170, 29–77. doi:10.3897/zookeys.170.2617