Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

First record of Pulvinaria urbicola Cockerell (Hemiptera: Coccidae), a potentially damaging scale insect, on Christmas Island, Indian Ocean.

Abstract

Pulvinaria urbicola Cockerell, a pulvinariine soft scale (Hemiptera: Coccidae), is a broad host-plant generalist, produces honeydew and is commonly tended by ants, including the invasive yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes Smith and big-headed ant Pheidole megacephala (Fabricius). Pu. urbicola is implicated in dieback of forest dominated by Pisonia grandis (Nyctaginaceae) on many Indo-Pacific islands. Here we report detection of Pu. urbicola on Christmas Island (Indian Ocean), describe the potential impacts of the association of this trophobiont with introduced ants, and briefly outline biosecurity and management issues. On Christmas Island, Pu. urbicola represents a threat to stands of Pi. grandis, potentially threatens the dominant forest tree Pi. umbellifera, and could exacerbate supercolony formation and impacts of the yellow crazy ant.