A review of the mealybug Oracella acuta: invasion and management in China and potential incursions into other countries.
The mealybug, Oracella acuta Lobdell, is native to southern USA. It was unintentionally introduced to Guangdong Province, southern China, in 1988 as a result of the importation of infested scions of slash pine, Pinus elliottii Engelm. Infestations were first detected in 1990, rapidly spreading in P. elliottii plantations throughout Guangdong and inflicting severe damage. The mealybug has damaged or threatened both native and introduced pine species in its invaded range because of the suitability of climate, presence of hosts as well as the lack of effective natural enemies. In this paper, we review the current literature and government reports and data to summarize the history, present status and ecology of the species. We then analyze the potential O. acuta invasion in Asia. Available studies are mostly centered on the invasion timing and pathway of this species from USA to China, its current distribution in China, the biological and ecological traits of the species, damage and impacts on forests and ecosystems, and the strategies for its prevention and control. There remain substantial gaps in scientific knowledge of the invasion mechanisms and cost-effective measures for early detection and practical management of O. acuta, including options for biological control. Research on these aspects is required in order to prevent further spread of this pest in China and neighboring countries, and to provide better management in invaded regions.