Dactylopius opuntiae (Cockerell, 1896), a new invasive pest of the cactus plants Opuntia ficus-indica in the South of Lebanon (Hemiptera, Coccoidea, Dactylopiidae).
The scale insect Dactylopius opuntiae (Cockerell, 1896) (Hemiptera, Dactylopiidae) was detected for the first time in southern Lebanon in 2012, in the region of Nabatieh, on the cactus plants Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill. (Cactaceae). The survey conducted in 2014 showed that this new introduced species is widespread in the South of the country and that the damages are very severe on Barbary figs, whose fruits constitute additional income sources for farmers of the region. However, in 2015, new infestations were observed in the region of Jezzine and Chouf, situated at 18 km from the first site of detection. The predator Cryptolaemus montrouzieri (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae) was found in association with the colonies of D. opuntiae, but its densities were too low to regulate the population of this new invasive pest. D. opuntiae represents a considerable threat to the production of Barbary figs in Lebanon.