Bats as natural samplers: First record of the invasive pest rice water weevil Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus in the Iberian Peninsula

Cecilia Montauban*, Maria Mas, Owen S. Wangensteen, Víctor Sarto i Monteys, David Gisbert Fornós, Xavi Ferré Mola, Adrià López-Baucells

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    We face an increasing global food security challenge as the human population continues to grow across the globe. As agricultural production rises to keep up with food demand, so too does the expansion of crop detrimental pest species. Early detection can be crucial to control their damage and relies on the use of accurate and dependable techniques. We report the first record of rice water weevil (Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus) in the Iberian Peninsula. The distribution range expansion of this invasive rice pest weevil is confirmed through traditional sampling and through natural sampling by bats combined with DNA metabarcoding, a non-invasive technique with strong potential for early detection of pests in agricultural areas. Presence of rice water weevil was confirmed genetically from bat faecal samples collected from a Pipistrellus pygmaeus bat roost in the Ebro Delta (Catalonia, Spain). The known distribution of this rice pest, native to North America, now includes four of the top five rice-producing European countries. To date, the economic damage caused by this pest in Europe is minimal and concentrated in small areas, but chemical and agronomic controls are implemented to control their populations. The nature of this record highlights the potential of insectivorous bats as natural samplers to detect (and possibly control) pest species in crops. Further studies are required to determine the full extent of the rice water weevil's spread, and to investigate integrated pest management systems, including biological control to suppress their populations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number105427
    JournalCrop Protection
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


    • Biological control
    • Ecosystem services
    • Invasive species
    • Metabarcoding
    • Pest control
    • Pipistrellus pygmaeus


    Dive into the research topics of 'Bats as natural samplers: First record of the invasive pest rice water weevil Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus in the Iberian Peninsula'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this