Integrative taxonomy methods reveal high mealybug (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) diversity in southern Brazilian fruit crops.
The Serra Gaúcha region is the most important temperate fruit-producing area in southern Brazil. Despite mealybugs (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) infesting several host plants in the region, there is a lack of information about the composition of species damaging different crops. A survey of mealybug species associated with commercial fruit crops (apple, persimmon, strawberry and grapes) was performed in Serra Gaúcha between 2013 and 2015, using both morphology and DNA analyses for species identification. The most abundant species were Pseudococcus viburni (Signoret), found on all four host plant species, and Dysmicoccus brevipes (Cockerell), infesting persimmon, vines and weeds. The highest diversity of mealybug species was found on persimmon trees, hosting 20 different taxa, of which Anisococcus granarae Pacheco da Silva & Kaydan, D. brevipes, Pseudococcus sociabilis Hambleton and Ps. viburni were the most abundant. A total of nine species were recorded in vineyards. Planococcus ficus (Signoret) and Pseudococcus longispinus (Targioni Tozzetti) were observed causing damage to grapes for the first time. A single species, Ps. viburni, was found associated with apples, while both Ps. viburni and Ferrisia meridionalis Williams were found on strawberry. Four of the mealybug species found represent new records for Brazil.