Rare insect never seen in the United States intercepted at the border

Dysschema mariamne_dorsal, courtesy CBP Hidalgo.jpg
Rare insect never seen in the United States intercepted at the border (Courtesy: CBP Hidalgo)

PHARR, Texas (WOAI) -- A rare pest that has never been seen in the United States was intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at the Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry.

CBP agriculture specialists inspected a commercial shipment of prickly pear pads arriving from Mexico and found the insect, that was not immediately identified. The insect was submitted for identification to a U.S. Department of Agriculture entomology laboratory and the initial identification was later confirmed by a national specialist as Dysschema mariamne.

“Our CBP agriculture specialists are to be commended for their tenacity and attention to detail which resulted in the discovery of a first in the nation pest,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry. “By intercepting these exotic pests, our agriculture specialists help protect American agriculture and contribute to the nation’s economic security by denying entry to invasive species not known to exist in the U.S.”

According to USDA entomologists, this pest has never been found at any of the nation’s ports of entry. CBP refused entry to the shipment and returned it back to Mexico.