Scale insects (Hemiptera: Coccomorpha) on coffee roots (Coffea arabica L.) in Colombia, with records of associated ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).
Scale insects (Hemiptera: Coccomorpha) that feed on roots are considered of economic importance in crops such as coffee. Although noteworthy developments on the knowledge about the alpha taxonomy of such insects exist, more information concerning their diversity is necessary. The aim of this study was to update the list of scale insect species found on coffee roots in Colombia as well as to recognize their trophobiotic ants. Field trips were carried out in nine Colombian departments, where 541 samples were obtained. In total, 4,762 scale insect specimens and 450 ants were analyzed; Coccomorph specimens were prepared in microscopy-slides and ants were pinned in points and entomological pins. Likewise, 250 scale insect samples preserved in seven Colombian entomological collections were also examined. Lastly, scale insect records associated with coffee in Colombia were also revised based on available published literature. The current study provides a list of scale insect species on coffee in Colombia, including their geographical distribution and associated ants. The checklist of scale insects associated to coffee roots is updated to 61 species, 52 of which correspond to samples collected in the field and nine from entomological collections; 20 species were recorded for the first time in association with coffee and 15 species are new records for Colombia. Puto barberi, Geococcus coffeae, the Dysmicoccus complex texensis, Rhizoecus colombiensis and Pseudococcus elisae, were the most frequently observed scale insect species on coffee in Colombia. Furthermore, 32 morphospecies of ants were found, of which 30 are known to be in facultative trophobiotic relationships with hemipterans, and two species of the Acropyga genus are known for their trophophoresy with scale insects.