Aspidiotus rigidus Reyne (Hemiptera: Diaspididae): a devastating pest of coconut in the Philippines.
The Philippines is the second largest producer of coconut products and, in some areas, coconut farming is the main source of livelihood. A damaging armoured scale insect (Hemiptera: Diaspididae) infesting coconut palms was first found in the Philippines on Luzon Island (Batangas province) in 2009, and is now affecting most of the provinces of southern Luzon. The scale pest is still spreading in the Visayan Islands and Mindanao. Infestation stops photosynthesis; the leaves yellow and dry; fruits form less nutmeat and the coconut-water is sour; weak new leaflets bend over or break off; and the tree dies in 6 months or less. The scale pest is identified in the present study as Aspidiotus rigidus Reyne; it presents a significant quarantine threat to coconut-producing countries worldwide. Characters enabling the identification of A. rigidus, its host range and distribution are given. Some literature on the natural enemies and control of A. rigidus is reviewed briefly. .