Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Inventory of ornamental plant mealybug (Hemiptera Pseudococcidae) in Tunisia: species, host plants and distribution.

Abstract

In recent years, mealybugs (Hemiptera, Pseudococcidae) have become an important pest of ornamental plant in Tunisia due to their accident introduction and invasiveness. Awareness, early knowledge of invasive species, their host plant and geographical distribution could help to implement control methods which minimize the economic losses caused by them. A survey was conducted during 2013-2018 period to identify the mealybug species on ornamental plant, their host plant and document their geographic and periodic distribution. Seven species belonging to five genera were identified: Maconellicoccus hirsutus Green, Phenacoccus peruvianus Granara de Willink, Phenacoccus madeirensis Green, Planococcus vovae Nassonov, Planococcus citri Risso, Ferrisia virgata Cockerell and Pseudococcus longispinus Targioni-Tozzetti. M. hirsutus was the most abundant mealybug and found in twenty-one sites on Hibiscus rosa-sinensis and Hibiscus mutabilis. P. peruvianus was the most polyphagous specie found on five host plants belonging to four families in eleven sites. P. citri was the single specie observed during wet season, therefore, all the rest species were found during dry season (summer, beginning autumn). These finding provide primary baseline knowledge of the mealybug fauna on ornamental plant in Tunisia and contribute information for use in the development of sustainable ornamental pest management strategies in the country.