Aulacaspis yasumatsui (cycad aulacaspis scale)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Distribution Table
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- List of Symptoms/Signs
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Plant Trade
- Impact Summary
- Threatened Species
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Principal Source
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Aulacaspis yasumatsui Tagaki
Preferred Common Name
- cycad aulacaspis scale
International Common Names
- English: Asian cycad scale; CAS; cycad scale; sago palm scale; snow scale; Thai scale
- AULSYA (Aulacaspis yasumatsui)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
Aulacaspis yasumatsui (cycad aulacaspis scale (CAS)) or the Asian cycad scale, is highly damaging to cycads, which include horticulturally important and endangered plant species. The cycad scale is an unusually difficult scale insect to control, forming dense populations and spreading rapidly, with few natural enemies in most localities where it has been introduced. The scale has the potential to spread to new areas via plant movement in the horticulture trade.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Uniramia
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Hemiptera
- Suborder: Sternorrhyncha
- Unknown: Coccoidea
- Family: Diaspididae
- Genus: Aulacaspis
- Species: Aulacaspis yasumatsui
DescriptionTop of page
All adult female Aulacaspis yasumatsui (cycad aulacaspis scale (CAS)) have a waxy outer covering for the protection of themselves and their eggs (the scale) (Weissling et al. 1999). The scale of mature females of A. yasumatsui are: "white, 1.2-1.6mm long and highly variable in form. They tend to have a pyriform shape with the exuviae at one end, but are often irregularly circular, conforming with leaf veins, adjacent scales and other objects. The ventral scale is extremely thin to incomplete. The scale of the juvenile male is similar to those of other species of Diaspididae, being 0.5-0.6mm long, white and tricarinate, with exuviae at the cephalic end. Scales of males are nearly always more numerous than those of females" (Howard et al. 1999). Adult males are orange-brown, and are similar in appearance to tiny flying midges, with one pair of wings and well-developed legs and antennae (Heu et al. 2003). Adult females are also orange in colour (Weissling et al. 1999).
Infestations of CAS on cycads begin on the undersides of leaflets or at the base of the petiole. As the infestation progresses, scales also infest the upper surfaces of leaflets, the terminal portion of the cycad, the trunk and even roots and seeds/cones (Heu et al. 2003; Weissling et al. 1999; Haynes, pers. comm.). The leaves of infested cycads have a whitewashed or snow-covered appearance due to the numerous white scales. Plants that have been infested for some time will typically have chlorotic, yellow-brown leaves, as the continuous removal of plant sap by the scale will usually result in the death of the leaves (Heu et al. 2003). The scale can eventually form several layers, which include a high proportion of dead as well as live insects. Heavy infestations can consist of up to 3,000 scales per square inch in several layers (Weissling, 1999).
A simple way to tell if a plant has CAS, as opposed to other types of scale, is the speed in which it multiplies and the thickness with which it covers the plant. An infestation usually starts on the petioles near the crown of the plant, and works out from there. The plant will usually be totally covered within a couple of months (Broome, 2004).
DistributionTop of page
A. yasumatsui is native to Southeast Asia (Howard et al. 1999; Muniappan, 2005). According to Dr. Chandrashekara and Dr. A. Viraktamath of the Department of Entomology at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore, India, CAS has so far not been recorded in India.
It has been introduced more widely in Asia and to North America, the Caribbean, Europe, Pacific islands and South Africa. It has been intercepted at the border in New Zealand and in some European countries.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|China||Restricted distribution||Native||CABI/EPPO, 2000; ISSG, 2011; EPPO, 2014|
|-Hong Kong||Present||Introduced||CABI/EPPO, 2000; ISSG, 2011; EPPO, 2014|
|Indonesia||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Sulawesi||Present||Watson et al., 2014|
|Singapore||Present||Introduced||ISSG, 2011; EPPO, 2014|
|Taiwan||Present||Introduced||2000||ISSG, 2011; EPPO, 2014|
|Thailand||Present||Native||Nakao et al., 1977; CABI/EPPO, 2000; ISSG, 2011; EPPO, 2014|
|Côte d'Ivoire||Unconfirmed record||Introduced||Germain and Hodges, 2007; ISSG, 2011; EPPO, 2014|
|South Africa||Restricted distribution||Introduced||Invasive||Nesamari et al., 2015||Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo provinces on native and non-native cultivated cycad species|
|Mexico||Present||González-Gómez et al., 2016|
|USA||Restricted distribution||CABI/EPPO, 2000; EPPO, 2014|
|-Florida||Present||Introduced||1996||Invasive||CABI/EPPO, 2000; ISSG, 2011; EPPO, 2014|
|-Hawaii||Present||Introduced||Invasive||CABI/EPPO, 2000; ISSG, 2011; EPPO, 2014|
|-Louisiana||Present||Introduced||ISSG, 2011; EPPO, 2014|
|-South Carolina||Present||Introduced||ISSG, 2011|
|-Texas||Present||Introduced||ISSG, 2011; EPPO, 2014|
Central America and Caribbean
|Cayman Islands||Present||Introduced||CABI/EPPO, 2000; ISSG, 2011; EPPO, 2014|
|Costa Rica||Restricted distribution||IPPC, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|Puerto Rico||Present||Introduced||Invasive||CABI/EPPO, 2000; ISSG, 2011; EPPO, 2014|
|United States Virgin Islands||Present||Introduced||CABI/EPPO, 2000; ISSG, 2011; EPPO, 2014|
|Bulgaria||Present||Trencheva et al., 2010|
|Croatia||Present||Milek and Simala, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|France||Absent, intercepted only||Introduced||2001||ISSG, 2011; EPPO, 2014|
|UK||Present only under cover/indoors||Introduced||Malumphy and Marquart, 2012|
|Guam||Present||Introduced||2003||Invasive||ISSG, 2011; EPPO, 2014|
|New Zealand||Absent, intercepted only||Introduced||2004||ISSG, 2011|
|Northern Mariana Islands||Present||Introduced||2007||Invasive||ISSG, 2011|
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial – Managed||Urban / peri-urban areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
Aulacaspis yasumatsui (cycad aulacaspis scale (CAS)) is found on plants from the gymnosperm order Cycadales, which consists of three families - Cycadaceae (Cycas a genus that contains its preferred host species), Stangeriaceae (Stangeria) and Zamiaceae (8 genera). CAS has been recorded on plants of the following genera: Cycas, Stangeria, Dioon, Encephalartos, Ceratozamia, Macrozamia and Microcycas (Howard et al. 1999; J. Haynes, pers. comm.; W. Tang, pers. comm.). These plants represent a wide variety of geographic origin. At Montgomery Botanical Center in Miami, Florida, the heaviest infestations appeared to be on Cycas and Stangeria eriopus. The threatened king sago (see Cycas revoluta in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species) appears to be more susceptible to CAS than most other species (Heu et al. 2003). The cycad scale infests pinnae, rachides, strobili, stems and roots of these various species of cycads. It is primarily found on the underside of leaves (Howard et al. 1999). In containerised plants, CAS usually aggregates on primary roots (about 10mm in diameter), and singly or in groups of a few on secondary roots (about 2mm in diameter) near the container sides. In the field, CAS has been observed at different depths on primary (3cm in diameter) and secondary roots in groups of a few to several individuals from near the soil surface to a maximum depth of 60cm (Weissling et al. 1999).
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Growing point / dieback|
|Leaves / abnormal colours|
|Leaves / external feeding|
|Leaves / yellowed or dead|
|Roots / external feeding|
|Seeds / external feeding|
|Stems / external feeding|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
Female Aulacaspis yasumatsui (cycad aulacaspis scale (CAS)) can begin laying eggs within 21-35 days of hatching in warmer weather (Hamon, 2000; in IFAS, 2005). Eggs hatch within 8-12 days and some individuals have been observed to develop to second instars within 16 days, and third instars in 28 days. Mature females lay >100 eggs (Howard et al. 1999).
Generally, scale insects initially hatch into a “crawler” stage capable of movement. When they find a suitable spot on a plant, they will insert their stylet (straw-like mouthparts) into the plant and begin feeding. Shortly after this, they will begin to create a covering over themselves, and they stay this way until they die. (IFAS, 2005).
Male cycad scales emerge from their scale shortly before death and fly in search of females for mating before they die. Females remain attached to the plant until their death. (Haynes and Marler, 2005). Most female cycad scales do not live longer than 75 days (Howard et al. 1999).
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Introduction pathways to new locations
Host:Aulacaspis yasumatsui (cycad aulacaspis scale (CAS)) can be transported to new locations by the import of infested cycad plants. There is high potential for CAS to spread in this manner as one or more fecund females hidden in the cycad can easily escape detection (EPPO, 2005).
Nursery trade:Aulacaspis yasumatsui (cycad aulacaspis scale (CAS)) can be transported to new locations by the import of infested cycad plants. There is high potential for CAS to spread in this manner as one or more fecund females hidden in the cycad can easily escape detection (EPPO, 2005).
Local dispersal methods
Garden escape/garden waste: The crawler stage of Aulacaspis yasumatsui (cycad aulacaspis scale (CAS)) can be spread via garden waste or infected pruning equipment (Hodges et al. 2003).
On animals:Aulacaspis yasumatsui (cycad aulacaspis scale (CAS)) can spread by "hitchhiking" on people,animals, birds, large insects etc. when in the crawler stage (Heu et al. 2003).
On animals (local):Aulacaspis yasumatsui (cycad aulacaspis scale (CAS)) can be carried by the wind when in the crawler stage (Heu et al. 2003) infesting plants more than a mile away (Moore, 2005).
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|Leaves||adults; nymphs||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Roots||adults; nymphs||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches||adults; nymphs||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
Impact SummaryTop of page
ImpactTop of page
CAS has the potential to disrupt the horticultural trade in cycads. Cycads are valuable ornamental plants worldwide and the scale detracts from the appearance of plants even after treatment as the dead scales do not readily drop off (Howard et al. 1999). CAS also threatens the survival of several rare and already endangered species conserved in botanical collections (Howard et al. 1999; J. Haynes, pers. comm).
CAS can be easily spread to new locations via the plant trade as one or more fecund females on the plant can easily evade detection. This could threaten native cycad populations in these new locations (Emshousen et al. 2004), as is occurring in Guam where CAS is killing off the native cycad (see Cycas micronesica in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species) at an alarming rate (Haynes & Marler, 2005). It is expected that CAS will spread to other islands in the Caribbean and Micronesia unless strict controls are put in place to restrict its spread via commercial cycads.
Indigenous cycads in the genus Cycas in Micronesia would be at risk should the spread of CAS be left unchecked in these regions (Muniappan, 2005; J. Haynes, pers. Comm). CAS has been reported in the Taitung Cycad Nature Reserve, Taiwan, home of the endemic prince sago (see Cycas taitungensis in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species). A recent survey conducted in the reserve by the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute found that 90% of prince sago were infected by CAS, mortality was, however, found to be less than 3%.
Threatened SpeciesTop of page
|Threatened Species||Conservation Status||Where Threatened||Mechanism||References||Notes|
|Cycas micronesica||EN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered)||Guam||Herbivory/grazing/browsing||ISSG, 2011|
|Cycas revoluta (sago cycas)||LC (IUCN red list: Least concern) LC (IUCN red list: Least concern)||Herbivory/grazing/browsing||ISSG, 2011|
|Cycas taitungensis||EN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered)||Taiwan||Herbivory/grazing/browsing||ISSG, 2011|
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Invasive in its native range
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
- Has high reproductive potential
- Host damage
- Negatively impacts forestry
- Threat to/ loss of endangered species
- Threat to/ loss of native species
- Negatively impacts animal/plant collections
- Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
- Difficult/costly to control
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
The scale of the female hibiscus snow scale (Pinnaspis strachani (Cooley)) resembles A. yasumatsui, but P. strachani is far less common on cycads in southern Florida (Howard et al. 1999).
In the field, female A. yasumatsui resemble the magnolia white scale (Pseudaulacaspis cockerelli (Comstock)), which is also common on cycads in Florida. The two can be distinguished under a 10X hand lens, with the scale removed, using three features: 1) the colour of the body of all stages and of the eggs of A. yasumatsui is orange, except recently molted individuals, which are yellow. The eggs and all stages of P. cockerelli are yellow. 2) A. yasumatsui has an expanded prosoma. 3) Scales of A. yasumatsui are usually more numerous on the lower surface of leaves, while those of P. cockerelli are more numerous on the upper surface (Howard et al. 1999).
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
BibliographyTop of page
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ReferencesTop of page
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Giorgi JA; Vandenberg NJ, 2012. Review of the lady beetle genus Phaenochilus Weise (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae: Chilocorini) with description of a new species from Thailand that preys on cycad aulacaspis scale, Aulacaspis yasumatsui Takagi (Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha: Diaspididae). Zootaxa, 3478:239-255. http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/2012/f/z03478p255f.pdf
González-Gómez R; Riverón-Giró FB; García-González A; Martínez-Rosas R; Solís-Montero L, 2016. First report of Aulacaspis yasumatsui (Hemiptera: Diaspididae) in Mexico. Florida Entomologist, 99(3):583-584. http://www.bioone.org/loi/flen
Hodgson C; Martin JH, 2001. Three noteworthy scale insects (Hemiptera: Coccoidea) from Hong Kong and Singapore, including Cribropulvinaria tailungensis, new genus and species (Coccidae), and the status of the cycad-feeding Aulacaspis yasumatsui (Diaspididae). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 49(2):227-250.
Howard FW; Hamon A; McLaughlin M; Weissling T; Yang SiLin, 1999. Aulacaspis yasumatsui (Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha: Diaspididae), a scale insect pest of cycads recently introduced into Florida. Florida Entomologist, 82(1):14-27.
Howard FW; Weissling TJ, 1999. Questions and answers about the cycad Aulacaspis scale insect. Proceedings of the 112th Annual Meeting of the Florida State Horticultural Society, Stuart, Florida, USA, 31 October-2 November, 1999, 112: 243-245.
Malumphy C; Marquart C, 2012. Queen sago palm (Cycas circinalis L.) killed by Asian cycad scale Aulacaspis yasumatsui Takagi (Hemiptera: Diaspididae) in Britain. Entomologist's Monthly Magazine, 148(1776-79):147-154. http://www.pemberleybooks.com
Milek TM; Simala M, 2008. Aulacaspis yasumatsui Tagaki, 1977 (Coccoidea: Diaspididae), a newly discovered scale insect in Croatia. (Aulacaspis yaswnatsiu Takagi, 1977 (Coccoidea: Diaspididae) kao novoutvrdena vrsta stitaste usi u hrvatskoj.) Glasilo Biljne Zastite, 8(4):239-242.
Nesamari R; Millar IM; Coutinho TA; Roux J, 2015. South African cycads at risk: Aulacaspis yasumatsui (Hemiptera: Coccoidea: Diaspididae) in South Africa. African Entomology, 23(1):196-206. http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.4001/003.023.0124
Smith TR; Cave RD, 2006. Life history of Cybocephalus nipponicus Endrödy-Younga (Coleoptera: Cybocephalidae), a predator of Aulacaspis yasumatsui Takagi (Hemiptera: Diaspididae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 108(4):905-916. http://apt.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1043%2F0013-8797%282006%29108%5B0905%3ALHOCNE%5D2.0.CO%3B2
Watson GW; Muniappan R; Shepard BM; Sembel DT; Rauf A; Carner GR; Benson EP, 2014. Sap-sucking insect records (Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha and Thysanoptera: Thripidae) from Indonesia. Florida Entomologist, 97(4):1594-1597. http://www.fcla.edu/FlaEnt/
ContributorsTop of page
Reviewed by: F. W. Howard, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Entomology, University of Florida, IFAS. Fort Lauderdale Research & Education Center Florida USA
Jody Haynes, Secretary & Webmaster, IUCN Cycad Specialist Group, Miami, FL, USA
Principal sources:Howard et al. 1999. Aulacaspis yasumatsui (Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha: Diaspididae), a scale insect pest of cycads recently introduced into Florida.
Weissling et al. 1999. Featured creatures: Cycad Aulacaspis Scale, Aulacaspis yasumatsui Takagi.
Distribution MapsTop of page
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