Invasion of the main cocoa-producing region of South America by Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae).
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green) (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) was first detected in Brazil in 2010, and this study documents the recent range expansion into the major cocoa producing regions of Espírito Santo and Bahia, Brazil. We describe the signs of M. hirsutus infestation and damage to cocoa plants. Infestation of cocoa by adult females with nymphs and egg masses was observed, particularly on new flushes of growth and on fruits, and is a major threat to one of the largest cocoa producing areas of the world. The predator Cryptolaemus montrouzieri Mulsant (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) was associated with M. hirsutus, but no parasitoids were observed. Maconellicoccus hirsutus is now established and widespread on cocoa in southeastern Brazil and spreading to producing regions of Bahia.