Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

On the status and identity of the cochineal insects (Homoptera: Coccoidea: Dactylopiidae).

Abstract

In this revision of the cochineal insects, initiated in connection with searches in South America for natural enemies of Opuntia aurantiaca, nine species are recognized, four of them new. All are retained or placed in Dactylopius, and a key is provided to the adults. D. austrinus sp. n. is described from adult females taken on O. aurantiaca in South Africa in 1966. This species, which is species J of M. Karny [cf. RAE/A 62, 2700], was originally discovered in Argentina, where it occurs on the same food-plant; it is here recorded also from New South Wales and Queensland on O. aurantiaca. D. ceylonicus (Green) is reinstated to include some of Green's specimens from Opuntia sp. in Ceylon that had been incorporated by him in D. indicus (Green) and examples from Argentina, Queensland, Bolivia, Paraguay and South Africa. Its synonyms include D. argentinus Dominguez to D. confusus (Ckll.), which is found in Queensland on O. stricta and was introduced into South Africa in 1913 and occurred there at least until 1938 on O. monacantha, but it has not been collected there in recent years, probably because of the extensive destruction of O. monacantha by the Coccid. D. greeni Ckll. is a synonym of it. Examples recorded as D. newsteadi (Ckll.) from unidentified cacti in Arizona and forming part of the series originally allocated under this name are placed in D. confusus. The remainder of the series under D. newsteadi, derived from O. fulgida in Arizona and unidentified cacti in Arizona, Mexico and Texas, is placed in D. tomentosus (Lamark), which is restored [cf. 17, p. 292] and redescribed from examples taken on O. imbricata in New South Wales in 1967, Opuntia sp. in Nevada in 1960 and O. imbricata and O. tunicata in South Africa, to which D. tomentosus was introduced in 1970 from Queensland. An application had been made to the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature for the retention of D. coccus Costa, as described by G.F. Ferris [cf. 43, p. 256], as two senior synonyms are known. D. opuntiae (Ckll.) is retained, based on material collected since 1966 on O. tomentosa and O. inermis from New South Wales, O. streptacantha from Queensland, Opuntia sp. from Ceylon, Madras and Kenya, O. megacantha and O. tardiospina in South Africa and Opuntia sp. from Texas. D. confertus, D. salmianus and D. zimmermanni spp. n. are described from adult females collected in Argentina, in 1970-72 by H. Zimmermann.