Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Ferrisia virgata
(striped mealybug)

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Datasheet

Ferrisia virgata (striped mealybug)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 27 September 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Vector of Plant Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Ferrisia virgata
  • Preferred Common Name
  • striped mealybug
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Ferrisia virgata is a highly polyphagous mealybug. It reproduces quite rapidly in tropical conditions, but it tolerates subtropical and to some extent temperate conditions too. It has been reported on host-plan...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Adult females oval, greyish-yellow, 4-4.5 mm long, with two longitudinal, submedian, interrupted dark stripes on the dorsum showing through the waxy secretion. The dorsum also bears numerous straight, glassy threads of wax.
TitleAdult F. virgata on rambutan
CaptionAdult females oval, greyish-yellow, 4-4.5 mm long, with two longitudinal, submedian, interrupted dark stripes on the dorsum showing through the waxy secretion. The dorsum also bears numerous straight, glassy threads of wax.
CopyrightCrown Copyright
Adult females oval, greyish-yellow, 4-4.5 mm long, with two longitudinal, submedian, interrupted dark stripes on the dorsum showing through the waxy secretion. The dorsum also bears numerous straight, glassy threads of wax.
Adult F. virgata on rambutanAdult females oval, greyish-yellow, 4-4.5 mm long, with two longitudinal, submedian, interrupted dark stripes on the dorsum showing through the waxy secretion. The dorsum also bears numerous straight, glassy threads of wax.Crown Copyright
Adult female with ovisac.
TitleAdult
CaptionAdult female with ovisac.
Copyright©Georg Goergen/IITA Insect Museum, Cotonou, Benin
Adult female with ovisac.
AdultAdult female with ovisac.©Georg Goergen/IITA Insect Museum, Cotonou, Benin

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Ferrisia virgata (Cockerell, 1893)

Preferred Common Name

  • striped mealybug

Other Scientific Names

  • Dactylopius ceriferus Newstead, 1894
  • Dactylopius magnolicida King, 1902
  • Dactylopius segregatus Cockerell, 1893
  • Dactylopius setosus Hempel, 1900
  • Dactylopius talini Green, 1896
  • Dactylopius virgatus Cockerell, 1893
  • Dactylopius virgatus farinosus Cockerell, 1893
  • Dactylopius virgatus humilis Cockerell, 1893
  • Dactylopius virgatus madagascariensis Newstead, 1908
  • Ferrisia neovirgata Khalid and Shafee, 1988
  • Ferrisia virgata (Cockerell) Fullaway, 1923
  • Ferrisiana setosus (Hempel) Ali, 1970
  • Ferrisiana virgata (Cockerell) Takahashi, 1929
  • Heliococcus malvastrus McDaniel, 1962
  • Pseudoccus virgatus farinosus (Cockerell) Cockerell, 1902
  • Pseudococcus bicaudatus Keuchenius, 1915
  • Pseudococcus magnolicida (King) Cockerell, 1902
  • Pseudococcus marchali Vayssière, 1912
  • Pseudococcus segregatus (Cockerell) Fernald, 1903
  • Pseudococcus virgatus (Cockerell) Kircaldy, 1902
  • Pseudococcus virgatus humilis (Cockerell) Fernald, 1903
  • Pseudococcus virgatus madagascariensis (Newstead) Lindinger, 1913

International Common Names

  • English: guava mealybug; spotted mealybug; tailed coffee mealybug; tailed mealybug; white-tailed mealybug
  • Spanish: cochinilla embandada
  • French: cochenille rayée

Local Common Names

  • Egypt: white mealybug
  • Germany: weisse Lamtoro-laus
  • Netherlands: lamtoroluis; witte lamtoro-luis
  • Philippines: grey mealybug
  • South Africa: gestreepte witluis

EPPO code

  • FERRVI (Ferrisia virgata)
  • PSECVI (Pseudococcus virgatus)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Ferrisia virgata is a highly polyphagous mealybug. It reproduces quite rapidly in tropical conditions, but it tolerates subtropical and to some extent temperate conditions too. It has been reported on host-plants belonging to over 203 genera in 77 families, and can damage many crops, particularly tropical fruit, nut and spice crops and field crops like soybean and tomato. It is known to transmit plant badnavirus diseases of cocoa and black pepper. It is of Neotropical origin and spread around the world in only about 10 years after being first described from Jamaica. Its polyphagy has facilitated its spread by human transport of infested plants, and it is now established in all the subtropical and tropical zoogeographic regions. Its small size and cryptic habits make it difficult to detect and identify at plant quarantine inspection. The increase in international trade in fresh plant material in recent years is likely to facilitate its continued spread.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Hemiptera
  •                         Suborder: Sternorrhyncha
  •                             Unknown: Coccoidea
  •                                 Family: Pseudococcidae
  •                                     Genus: Ferrisia
  •                                         Species: Ferrisia virgata

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The genus Ferrisia was described to accommodate F. virgata, a widespread tropical species. In 1929, Takahashi claimed (erroneously) that the name Ferrisia was a homonym, and replaced it with Ferrisiana; however, the name Ferrisia has since been recognized as valid.

It has long been known that specimens normally identified as Ferrisia virgata were either biparental or parthenogenetic (Williams, 1996). Nur (1977), using electrophoretic techniques, indicated that there was one uniparental species and at least two biparental species, while Miller and Kostarab (1979) mentioned seven species. The type species of F. virgata is biparental and Williams (1985) illustrated the uniparental form, showing morphological differences between the two forms. The uniparental form was later described as F. consobrina (Williams and Watson, 1988) and subsequently synonymized under F. malvastra by Williams (1996). Descriptions and illustrations of F. virgata prior to 1980 often contain a combination of the features of F. virgata and F. malvastra.

Furthermore, Kaydan and Gullan (2012) revised the genus Ferrisia and recognized 18 species, eight of them new to science.

Early records of F. virgata from all parts of its distribution therefore need to be verified due to confusion with F. malvastra (Ben-Dov, 1994) and the new species described by Kaydan and Gullan (2012).

Description

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In life, adult females are oval, up to 5 mm long, greyish-yellow, with two longitudinal, submedian, interrupted dark stripes on the dorsum showing through the waxy secretion -- hence the common name 'striped mealybug'. The dorsum also bears numerous straight, glassy threads of wax up to 4.0-4.5 mm long. Several members of the genus Ferrisia have this appearance in life, so authoritative identification requires expert study of stained, slide-mounted adult females using the key in Kaydan and Gullan (2012), or nucleotide sequence data.

Slide-mounted adult female Ferrisia species are easy to recognise by the presence of only one pair of cerarii, situated on the anal lobes, and the presence of enlarged tubular ducts, each with the orifice surrounded by a flat, circular, sclerotized area associated with one or more short setae. Kaydan and Gullan (2012) provided a thorough revision of the genus Ferrisia and a morphological key to world species, including detailed morphological description, illustration and discussion of F. virgata. F. virgata is very difficult to separate from some of the other species, particularly F. dasylirii. It has both anterior and posterior pairs of ostioles; ventral oral-collar tubular ducts of at least 2 sizes; smaller ducts present singly or in segmental clusters on body margin, only on last 2–3 abdominal segments; minute discoidal pores in sclerotised area of enlarged dorsal tubular ducts and larger ventral oral-collar tubular ducts rarely if ever touching rim of duct opening (or only very rarely on ventral ducts); discoidal pores associated with sclerotised area around orifices of dorsal enlarged tubular ducts on anterior abdomen normally not touching outer margin of sclerotised area and very rarely projecting from that margin; dorsal enlarged tubular ducts numbering 69-101; abdominal segment VI with 11-28 multilocular disc pores, usually with more than 15 in a double row; each anal lobe cerarius with 3 (occasionally 2) enlarged conical setae; and hind coxa with translucent pores (Kaydan and Gullan, 2012).

The adult male has long antennae, six well developed legs, one pair of simple wings, no mouthparts, and a pair of long white wax filaments at the posterior end. The morphology of Ferrisia males has not been studied in detail so the species cannot be identified using male morphology.

Distribution

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The genus Ferrisia is apparently of New World origin (Williams, 1996). F. virgata is by far the most widespread species in the genus (Kaydan and Gullan, 2012). Its area of origin is not known; it was described from Jamaica but it was a pest there at the time, so it may have been an introduction from elsewhere (Kaydan and Gullan, 2012). According to the literature, it has spread to all zoogeographical regions, mainly in the tropics, but often extends well into the temperate regions -- see Commonwealth Institute of Entomology (1966) and García et al. (2016). It is likely that the most northern populations are found only in greenhouses. Early records of F. virgata from all parts of its distribution need to be verified due to confusion with F. malvastra (Ben-Dov, 1994) and the new species described by Kaydan and Gullan (2012).

Distribution Table

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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/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

BangladeshPresentCIE, 1966; APPPC, 1987; Williams, 2004
British Indian Ocean TerritoryPresentBen-Dov, 1994
Brunei DarussalamPresentWaterhouse, 1993; Williams, 2004
CambodiaPresentCIE, 1966; Waterhouse, 1993; Ben-Dov, 1994; Kaydan and Gullan, 2012
ChinaPresentKaydan and Gullan, 2012
-GuangdongPresentCIE, 1966
-Hong KongPresentCIE, 1966
-HunanPresentHu et al., 1992
Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)PresentBellis et al., 2004
Cocos IslandsPresentBellis et al., 2004; Williams, 2004
IndiaPresentKaydan and Gullan, 2012
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentWilliams, 2004
-Andhra PradeshPresentCIE, 1966
-AssamPresentMustafee, 1970
-BiharPresentCIE, 1966; Williams, 2004
-GoaPresentAli, 1972
-GujaratPresentWilliams, 2004
-Indian PunjabPresentCIE, 1966; Sharma, 2011
-KarnatakaPresentCIE, 1966; Williams, 2004; Mangala et al., 2012
-KeralaPresentCIE, 1966; Williams, 2004
-Madhya PradeshPresentCIE, 1966; Williams, 2004
-MaharashtraPresentCIE, 1966; Williams, 2004
-OdishaPresentCIE, 1966; Williams, 2004
-RajasthanPresentCIE, 1966; Williams, 2004
-Tamil NaduPresentCIE, 1966; Williams, 2004
-TripuraPresentCIE, 1966; Williams, 2004
-Uttar PradeshPresentCIE, 1966; Williams, 2004
-West BengalPresentCIE, 1966; Williams, 2004
IndonesiaPresentWaterhouse, 1993
-Irian JayaPresentWilliams and Watson, 1988
-JavaPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994; Williams, 2004
-Nusa TenggaraPresentKaydan and Gullan, 2012
-SulawesiPresentWilliams, 2004
-SumatraPresentCIE, 1966
IranPresentMoghadam, 2004
IsraelPresentBen-Dov, 1978; Gerson, 2016
JapanPresentBen-Dov, 1994; Kinjo et al., 1996
LaosPresentWaterhouse, 1993
MalaysiaPresentWaterhouse, 1993; Kaydan and Gullan, 2012
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentCIE, 1966
-SabahPresentCIE, 1966; Williams, 2004
-SarawakPresentCIE, 1966; Williams, 2004
MaldivesPresentWatson et al., 1995
MyanmarPresentCIE, 1966; Waterhouse, 1993; Williams, 2004
PakistanPresentCIE, 1966; Williams, 2004
PhilippinesPresentCIE, 1966; Waterhouse, 1993; Lit and Calilung, 1994; Kaydan and Gullan, 2012
Saudi ArabiaPresentBen-Dov, 1994
SingaporePresentWaterhouse, 1993; Kaydan and Gullan, 2012
Sri LankaPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994; Williams, 2004
TaiwanPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994; Wong et al., 1999
ThailandPresentCIE, 1966; APPPC, 1987; Waterhouse, 1993; Ben-Dov, 1994; Kaydan and Gullan, 2012
United Arab EmiratesPresentCIE, 1966
VietnamPresentBen-Dov, 1994; Williams, 2004
YemenPresentCIE, 1966

Africa

AldabraPresentBen-Dov, 1994
AngolaPresentCIE, 1966
BeninPresentGermain et al., 2010
CameroonPresentCIE, 1966
Cape VerdePresentHarten et al., 1990
ComorosPresentMatile-Ferrero, 1978; Ben-Dov, 1994
CongoPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994
Congo Democratic RepublicWidespreadBuyckx, 1962
Côte d'IvoirePresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994
EgyptPresentCIE, 1966; Abd-Rabou, 2001; Adly et al., 2016
EthiopiaPresentCIE, 1966
GhanaPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994; Kaydan and Gullan, 2012
GuineaPresentBen-Dov, 1994
Guinea-BissauPresentBen-Dov and Carvalho, 2006
KenyaPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994; Kaydan and Gullan, 2012
MadagascarPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994
MalawiPresentCIE, 1966
MaliPresentMuniappan et al., 2012
MauritiusPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994
MozambiquePresentCIE, 1966
NigeriaPresentCIE, 1966
RéunionPresentGermain et al., 2014
Rodriguez IslandPresentBen-Dov, 1994
Sao Tome and PrincipePresentCIE, 1966
SenegalPresentCIE, 1966; Muniappan et al., 2012
SeychellesPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994
Sierra LeonePresentCIE, 1966
SomaliaPresentCIE, 1966
South AfricaPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994; Kaydan and Gullan, 2012
SudanPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994
TanzaniaPresentCIE, 1966; Bohlen, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1994
-ZanzibarPresentWilliams and Matile-Ferrero, 2005
TogoPresentCIE, 1966
UgandaPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994; Kaydan and Gullan, 2012
ZambiaPresentCIE, 1966; Kaydan and Gullan, 2012
ZimbabwePresentCIE, 1966

North America

BermudaPresentCIE, 1966; Hodgson and Hilburn, 1990; Ben-Dov, 1994
MexicoPresentCIE, 1966; Rosen, 1981; Ben-Dov, 1994; Kaydan and Gullan, 2012; Villatoro-Moreno et al., 2016
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlabamaPresentCIE, 1966
-CaliforniaPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994
-District of ColumbiaPresentKosztarab, 1996
-FloridaPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994
-HawaiiPresentCIE, 1966
-LouisianaPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994; Kaydan and Gullan, 2012
-MarylandPresentKosztarab, 1996
-MassachusettsPresentKosztarab, 1996
-MississippiPresentCIE, 1966
-New JerseyPresentKosztarab, 1996
-New MexicoPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994
-New YorkPresentBen-Dov, 1994
-OhioPresentKosztarab, 1996
-PennsylvaniaPresentKosztarab, 1996
-TexasPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994
-VirginiaPresentKosztarab, 1996

Central America and Caribbean

Antigua and BarbudaPresentWilliams and Granara de Willink, 1992Barbuda
BahamasPresentWilliams and Granara de Willink, 1992; Ben-Dov, 1994
BarbadosPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994
BelizePresentBen-Dov, 1994
Cayman IslandsPresentWilliams and Granara de Willink, 1992; Ben-Dov, 1994
Costa RicaPresentCIE, 1966; Williams and Granara de Willink, 1992; Ben-Dov, 1994
CubaPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994; Martinez et al., 2005
DominicaPresentWilliams and Granara de Willink, 1992; Ben-Dov, 1994
French West IndiesPresentMatile-Ferrero and Étienne, 2006Saint Martin (as well as Guadeloupe and Martinique which have separate entries in this table)
GuadeloupePresentMatile-Ferrero and Étienne, 2006
GuatemalaPresentBen-Dov, 1994
HaitiPresentCIE, 1966; Perez-Gelabert, 2008
HondurasPresentCIE, 1966; Williams and Granara de Willink, 1992; Ben-Dov, 1994
JamaicaPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994; Kaydan and Gullan, 2012
MartiniquePresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994; Matile-Ferrero and Étienne, 2006
NicaraguaPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994
PanamaPresentCIE, 1966; Williams and Granara de Willink, 1992; Ben-Dov, 1994
Puerto RicoPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentWilliams and Granara de Willink, 1992; Ben-Dov, 1994In both Saint Kitts and Nevis
Trinidad and TobagoPresentCIE, 1966; Williams and Granara de Willink, 1992; Ben-Dov, 1994On both islands: Trinidad and Tobago
United States Virgin IslandsPresentBeatty, 1944; Williams and Granara de Willink, 1992; Ben-Dov, 1994

South America

ArgentinaPresentCIE, 1966; Granara de Willink, 1991; Ben-Dov, 1994; Trjapitzin and Trjapitzin, 1999; Granara-de-Willink and Claps, 2003
BoliviaPresentWilliams and Granara de Willink, 1992; Ben-Dov, 1994
BrazilPresentBen-Dov, 1994; Kaydan and Gullan, 2012
-AmazonasPresentFoldi and Kozár, 2006
-Espirito SantoPresentCulik et al., 2009
-ParaibaPresentCIE, 1966
-Rio de JaneiroPresentCIE, 1966
-Rio Grande do NortePresentCIE, 1966
-Sao PauloPresentCIE, 1966
ColombiaPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994; Kondo, 2008
EcuadorPresentBen-Dov, 1994
-Galapagos IslandsPresentWilliams and Granara de Willink, 1992; Lincango et al., 2010
GuyanaPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994
ParaguayPresentBen-Dov, 1994
PeruPresentBen-Dov, 1994
SurinamePresentCIE, 1966; Williams and Granara de Willink, 1992; Ben-Dov, 1994
VenezuelaPresentCIE, 1966; Williams and Granara de Willink, 1992; Ben-Dov, 1994

Europe

FrancePresentFoldi, 2000

Oceania

AustraliaPresentKaydan and Gullan, 2012
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentCIE, 1966; Williams, 1985; Ben-Dov, 1994
-QueenslandPresentCIE, 1966; Williams, 1985; Ben-Dov, 1994
Cook IslandsPresentWilliams and Watson, 1988; Ben-Dov, 1994
FijiPresentCIE, 1966; Williams and Watson, 1988; Ben-Dov, 1994
French PolynesiaPresentBen-Dov, 1994; Kaydan and Gullan, 2012
KiribatiPresentCIE, 1966; Williams and Watson, 1988; Ben-Dov, 1994
Marshall IslandsPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentBeardsley, 1966Pohnpei, Truk Islands and Yap
New CaledoniaPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentBeardsley, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994
PalauPresentBeardsley, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994
Papua New GuineaPresentCIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994; Gavrilov-Zimin, 2013
SamoaPresentWilliams and Watson, 1988; Ben-Dov, 1994
Solomon IslandsPresentWilliams and Watson, 1988; Ben-Dov, 1994
TongaPresentCIE, 1966; Williams and Watson, 1988; Ben-Dov, 1994
TuvaluPresentWilliams and Watson, 1988; Ben-Dov, 1994
VanuatuPresentCIE, 1966; Williams and Watson, 1988; Ben-Dov, 1994
Wake IslandPresentBen-Dov, 1994
Wallis and Futuna IslandsPresentCIE, 1966

History of Introduction and Spread

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F. virgata was first described from Jamaica (Cockerell, 1893). Within a short period, it had been described from India (by Newstead, 1894), Sri Lanka (by Green, 1896), Madagascar (by Newstead, 1908), West Africa (by Vayssière, 1912) and Indonesia (Java) (by Keuchenius, 1915). Although its morphological affinities indicate that it is of New World origin, in Jamaica it was infesting many plant species in a manner characteristic of a new introduction (Liebhold and Tobin, 2008), so its locality of origin is not known exactly (Kaydan and Gullan, 2012). The speed with which it spread around the world is typical of newly invading insect species (Liebhold and Tobin, 2008). Transport of infested plant material is presumed to have been the main mode of spread.

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
India Western Hemisphere early 1890s Crop production (pathway cause) ,
Horticulture (pathway cause)
Yes No Newstead (1894)
Jamaica Western Hemisphere early 1890s Crop production (pathway cause) ,
Horticulture (pathway cause)
Yes No Cockerell (1893)
Java 1910-1914 Crop production (pathway cause) ,
Horticulture (pathway cause)
Yes No Keuchenius (1915)
Madagascar early 1900s Crop production (pathway cause) ,
Horticulture (pathway cause)
Yes No Newstead (1908)
Sri Lanka early 1890s Crop production (pathway cause) ,
Horticulture (pathway cause)
Yes No Green (1896)
West Africa early 1900s Crop production (pathway cause) ,
Horticulture (pathway cause)
Yes No Vayssière (1912)

Risk of Introduction

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All life stages may be carried on consignments of fresh plant material and fruit. F. virgata is often injurious to crop and ornamental plants especially when it is introduced to new geographical areas without its natural enemies (Williams, 1996).

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Freshwater
Irrigation channels Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Irrigation channels Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Littoral
Coastal areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Coastal dunes Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal dunes Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Mangroves Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Mangroves Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Terrestrial-managed
Cultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Natural
Disturbed areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Principal habitat Natural
Protected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production) Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Principal habitat Natural
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Natural forests Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Riverbanks Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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F. virgata is one of the most highly polyphagous mealybugs known, attacking plant species belonging to some 203 genera in 77 families (García et al., 2016). Many of the host species belong to the Fabaceae and Euphorbiaceae. Among the hosts of economic importance are avocado, banana, betel vine, black pepper, cassava, cashew, cauliflower, citrus, cocoa, coffee, cotton, custard apple, aunergine, grapevine, guava, jute, lantana, Leucaena, litchi, mango, oil palm, pigeon pea, pineapple, soyabean and tomato. Acalypha species are apparently a favoured host-plant in many places (Kaydan and Gullan, 2012).

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Abelmoschus esculentus (okra)MalvaceaeMain
Acalypha (Copperleaf)EuphorbiaceaeMain
Albizia lebbeck (Indian siris)FabaceaeMain
Anacardium occidentale (cashew nut)AnacardiaceaeMain
Ananas comosus (pineapple)BromeliaceaeMain
AnnonaAnnonaceaeMain
Annona reticulata (bullock's heart)AnnonaceaeOther
Annona squamosa (sugar apple)AnnonaceaeUnknown
Arachis hypogaea (groundnut)FabaceaeOther
Brassica oleracea (cabbages, cauliflowers)BrassicaceaeUnknown
Cajanus cajan (pigeon pea)FabaceaeMain
Carica papaya (pawpaw)CaricaceaeMain
CitrusRutaceaeMain
Coccoloba uvifera (seaside grape)PolygonaceaeMain
Cocos nucifera (coconut)ArecaceaeMain
Codiaeum variegatum (croton)EuphorbiaceaeMain
Coffea (coffee)RubiaceaeMain
Colocasia esculenta (taro)AraceaeMain
Corchorus (jutes)TiliaceaeMain
Cucurbita maxima (giant pumpkin)CucurbitaceaeMain
Cucurbita pepo (marrow)CucurbitaceaeMain
Dioscorea esculenta (Asiatic yam)DioscoreaceaeUnknown
DracaenaAgavaceaeMain
Elaeis guineensis (African oil palm)ArecaceaeMain
FicusMoraceaeMain
Glycine max (soyabean)FabaceaeUnknown
Gossypium (cotton)MalvaceaeMain
Hevea brasiliensis (rubber)EuphorbiaceaeUnknown
Hibiscus (rosemallows)MalvaceaeOther
Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato)ConvolvulaceaeMain
Leucaena leucocephala (leucaena)FabaceaeMain
Litchi chinensis (lichi)SapindaceaeMain
Malpighia glabra (acerola)MalpighiaceaeOther
Mangifera indica (mango)AnacardiaceaeMain
Manihot esculenta (cassava)EuphorbiaceaeMain
ManilkaraSapotaceaeMain
Musa (banana)MusaceaeMain
Nephelium lappaceum (rambutan)SapindaceaeOther
Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco)SolanaceaeMain
Persea americana (avocado)LauraceaeOther
Phaseolus (beans)FabaceaeMain
Phoenix dactylifera (date-palm)ArecaceaeMain
Phyllanthus acidus (star gooseberry)EuphorbiaceaeOther
Piper betle (betel pepper)PiperaceaeMain
Piper nigrum (black pepper)PiperaceaeMain
Pongamia pinnata (Indian beech)FabaceaeOther
Psidium guajava (guava)MyrtaceaeMain
Punica granatum (pomegranate)PunicaceaeMain
Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane)PoaceaeOther
Solanum lycopersicum (tomato)SolanaceaeMain
Solanum melongena (aubergine)SolanaceaeMain
Solanum nigrum (black nightshade)SolanaceaeMain
Theobroma cacao (cocoa)SterculiaceaeMain
Vigna unguiculata (cowpea)FabaceaeMain
Vitis vinifera (grapevine)VitaceaeMain
Zea mays (maize)PoaceaeOther
Zingiber officinale (ginger)ZingiberaceaeMain

Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Post-harvest, Vegetative growing stage

Symptoms

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Infestations of F. virgata remain clustered around the terminal shoots, leaves and fruit, sucking plant sap which results in yellowing, withering and drying of plants and premature shedding of leaves and fruit. The mealybugs do not feed on phloem very often, so unlike many mealybug species they do not produce huge quantities of sugary honeydew. What honeydew is produced can foul foliage and fruit and serve as a medium for the growth of black sooty moulds. Sooty moulds and wax deposits can block light and air from the plant, sometimes reducing photosynthesis and hence plant vigour and crop yield.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Fruit / discoloration
Fruit / external feeding
Fruit / honeydew or sooty mould
Growing point / dead heart
Growing point / external feeding
Leaves / abnormal colours
Leaves / honeydew or sooty mould
Leaves / wilting
Stems / discoloration
Stems / external feeding
Stems / honeydew or sooty mould

Biology and Ecology

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There are several papers on the biology of F. virgata but these need to be verified due to the confusion with F. malvastra, particularly in India where both species occur. F. virgata is biparental and F. malvastra is parthenogenetic.

Reproductive Biology

F. virgata reproduces sexually, with each female mating only once.  At 30-35 ºC and 65% relative humidity (RH), a complete life cycle required about 6-7 weeks, and at 16.6 ºC, 13-14 weeks (Gerson, 2016). When reared at 16-29 ºC and 54-71% RH on sprouting potatoes, there were three (Ammar et al., 1979) to five overlapping generations per year (Nayar et al., 1976; Awadallah et al., 1979), with the population increasing with each successive generation in the field (Ammar et al., 1979). The same study found that the production of males was highest in crowded conditions. In the field in Egypt, the preferred oviposition sites were on the lower leaf surfaces and at the junction between stem and leaf petiole on Acalypha macrophylla (Awadallah et al., 1979). Eggs are laid in groups beneath the body on a pad of cottony wax filaments (Kaydan and Gullan, 2012) over a period of 20-29 days (Schmutterer, 1969). Each female is ovoviviparous and, in the laboratory, produces from 64 eggs (Awadallah et al., 1979) up to 737 eggs that hatch within 30 minutes of being laid (Ghose and Paul, 1972) or after 3-4 hours (Schmutterer, 1969). Female and male nymphs moulted 3 and 4 times, respectively, and the development period varied from 26-47 and 31-57 days, respectively (Ghose and Paul, 1972).

Longevity

Longevity of the adult female was 36-53 days, and that of the male 1-3 days (Ghose and Paul, 1972).

Activity patterns:

As with all mealybugs, only the short-lived males can fly.

In Egypt in the field, F. virgata overwintered (probably as adult females) in cracks and junctions of trunks and larger branches and on fallen leaves. In the laboratory, females migrated to the soil in winter (Ammar et al., 1979).

Nutrition

F. virgata feeds on the sap of a wide variety of host plants.

Environmental requirements:

F. virgata is found predominantly in the tropics, but its range does extend well into some temperate regions; it is found as far north as New York state in the USA (Ben-Dov., 1994).

A significant positive correlation was found (in Egypt) between population density and daily maximum and minimum temperatures, but not between population density and relative humidity (Ammar et al., 1979).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BW - Desert climate Tolerated < 430mm annual precipitation
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Tolerated Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
43 27

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Acerophagus texanus Parasite California most flowering plants
Aenasius advena Parasite Adults/Nymphs California; Hawaii most flowering plants
Alloagrapta javana Predator Adults/Eggs/Larvae/Nymphs/Pupae
Alloagrapta obliqua Predator Adults/Eggs/Larvae/Nymphs/Pupae
Anagyrus brevicornis Parasite Adults/Nymphs
Anagyrus qadrii Parasite Adults/Nymphs
Anaysis alcocki Parasite Adults/Nymphs
Anusioptera aureocincta Parasite Adults/Nymphs
Azya luteipes Predator Adults/Eggs/Larvae/Nymphs/Pupae
Blepyrus insularis Parasite Nymphs
Brumoides suturalis Predator Adults/Nymphs
Cephaleta brunniventris Parasite
Cheilomenes sexmaculata Predator Adults/Nymphs
Chrysopa flaveola Predator Adults/Nymphs
Chrysopa orestes Predator Adults/Eggs/Larvae/Nymphs/Pupae
Chrysoperla carnea Predator Adults/Nymphs
Coccinella septempunctata Predator Adults/Nymphs
Coelinius Parasite Larvae
Cryptolaemus montrouzieri Predator Adults/Eggs/Larvae/Nymphs/Pupae Indonesia, India coffee, guava
Eublemma costimacula Predator Adults/Nymphs
Exochomus flaviventris Predator Adults/Eggs/Larvae/Nymphs/Pupae
Geocoris tricolor Predator Adults/Nymphs
Gyranusoidea citrina Parasite Nymphs
Hyperaspis notata Predator Adults/Nymphs
Hyperaspis senegalensis hottentotta Predator Adults/Eggs/Larvae/Nymphs/Pupae
Mallada boninensis Predator Adults/Eggs/Larvae/Nymphs/Pupae
Myiopharus doryphorae Parasite Adults/Nymphs
Neozygites fresenii Pathogen Adults/Nymphs
Nephus regularis Predator Adults/Nymphs
Ocyptamus argentinus Predator Adults/Eggs/Larvae/Nymphs/Pupae
Ocyptamus mentor Predator Adults/Nymphs
Odontochrysa lacciperda Predator Adults/Nymphs
Olla v-nigrum Predator Adults/Eggs/Larvae/Nymphs/Pupae
Patiyana coccorum Parasite Adults/Nymphs
Pseudaphycus debachi Parasite Adults/Nymphs
Scymnus apiciflavus Predator Adults/Nymphs
Scymnus castaneus Predator Adults/Eggs/Larvae/Nymphs/Pupae
Scymnus coccivora Predator Adults/Eggs/Larvae/Nymphs/Pupae
Scymnus roepkei Predator Adults/Nymphs
Spalgis epeus Predator Adults/Nymphs
Triommata coccidivora Predator Adults/Nymphs

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Bartlett (1978) gave an account of the introduced parasitoids and predators used to control F. virgata. Noyes (2016) provides a list of known hymenopteran parasitoids of F. virgata.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

As for most mealybugs, local dispersal of F. virgata is mainly by the crawling of the first instars. However, all the female developmental stages can walk, at least until eggs are laid (Kaydan and Gullan, 2012), and they will move to avoid unfavourable conditions. Additionally, wind may pick up and carry crawlers longer distances (Kaydan and Gullan, 2012).

Vector Transmission

In unfavourable conditions, attendant ants sometimes pick up mealybugs and carry them to new feeding sites (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2016). Sometimes mealybug crawlers walk onto the feet of birds perching on infested trees, and get carried to new plants.  

Accidental Introduction

All life stages of F. virgata may be carried in shipments of fresh plant material and fruit (Kaydan and Gullan, 2012); as for other mealybug species, human transport of infested plants is a common way in which F. virgata gets transported over long distances, in-country or internationally, and presumably for short distances as well.  This includes trade in nursery stock, sharing or trade of infested material by plant fanciers, import of unusual plants to botanical gardens and food plant material to zoos, and the considerable trade in planting material like ornamental bamboos and orchids, bought online and sent via mail or courier, sometimes with no customs declaration on the package.

Humans and farm machinery working in infested fields can accidentally carry crawlers to other sites.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Botanical gardens and zoosAccidental introduction on plants Yes
Crop productionAccidental introduction on plants; transport on used farm machinery Yes Yes
Cut flower tradeAccidental introduction on plants Yes Yes
HitchhikerAccidental introduction on plants, and also on machinery, tools and workers Yes Yes
HorticultureAccidental introduction on plants, and also on machinery, tools and workers Yes Yes
Landscape improvementAccidental introduction on plants Yes Yes
Nursery tradeAccidental introduction on plants, and also on machinery, tools and workers Yes Yes
People sharing resourcesPlant fanciers sharing plant material Yes Yes
Self-propelled Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
ConsumablesAccidental introduction on plant material Yes
Host and vector organismsAccidental introduction on plant material Yes Yes
Plants or parts of plantsAccidental introduction on plant material Yes Yes
Wind Yes

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx adults; eggs; larvae; nymphs; pupae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Fruits (inc. pods) adults; eggs; larvae; nymphs; pupae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Leaves adults; eggs; larvae; nymphs; pupae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches adults; eggs; larvae; nymphs; pupae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Negative

Economic Impact

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Pelley (1968) gave a general discussion of the pest status of F. virgata on coffee. Keuchenius (1915) and Ultee (1924) discussed it forming damaging mixed populations with Planococcus citri (Risso) on coffee in Java, Indonesia. Schmutterer (1969) stated it was a major pest of irrigated guava trees in the drier areas of the Sudan where it is common on many other crop, shade, ornamental and wild plants. In Tanzania it is a pest of cashew and in some parts of the world it is a pest of cotton (Williams, 1996). In India it has been widely reported as a pest of ornamental plants (Ghose and Paul, 1972) and a range of crops including coffee (Chacko and Bhat, 1976), custard apple (Mani and Krishnamoorthy, 1989), betel vine (Patil et al., 1987), black pepper (Sarma et al., 1987), pigeon pea (Gautam and Saxena, 1986) and milk tree (Manilkara hexandra), a rootstock for sapodilla (Manilkara achras) (Jhala et al., 1988). It is also recorded as a pest of kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus) and mesta (H. sabdariffa) in Bangladesh (Jalil and Kabir, 1971), of Leucaena leucocephala in Taiwan (Chang and Sun, 1985), and of glasshouse ornamental plants in Egypt (Nada, 1986).

As well as direct damage caused by feeding, F. virgata is a known vector of Cacao swollen shoot virus (CSSV) in West Africa, cocoa Trinidad virus (CTV, Diego Martin valley isolate) in Trinidad (Thorold, 1975), and a badnavirus disease of black pepper in India (Bhat et al., 2003). Sooty mould fouling of ornamental plants and produce reduces their market value or can make them unmarketable.

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Serianthes nelsoniiCR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesGuam; Northern Mariana IslandsPest and disease transmissionUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1994

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Gregarious
Impact outcomes
  • Host damage
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
  • Reduced amenity values
  • Negatively impacts animal/plant collections
  • Damages animal/plant products
Impact mechanisms
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Fouling
  • Herbivory/grazing/browsing
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field
  • Difficult/costly to control

Detection and Inspection

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Heavy infestations are conspicuous because of the white waxy secretions, white masses of male tests (waxy filamentous cocoons) and sooty moulds growing on the excreted honeydew. Colonies often occur at the growing points, around the stem nodes, on the undersides of leaves and on the fruit.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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F. virgata should be distinguished from F. malvastra, recorded from many parts of the world, and F. dasylirii in the neotropics (García et al., 2016), which may be more widespread than is presently known. These species are morphologically very similar and cannot be distinguished in the field by simple superficial features. Slide-mounted preparations are needed for examination. Other species closely related to F. virgata have been described in recent years from South America and should be separated using the key given by Kaydan and Gullan (2012). Kaydan and Gullan (2012) also provide detailed morphological descriptions, illustrations and discussion of F. virgata, F. dasylirii and F. malvastra; information from their description of F. virgata is provided in the 'Description' section of this datasheet.

Prevention and Control

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Cultural Control and Sanitary Methods

At the beginning of a local outbreak, severely infested branches should be cut and burnt immediately (Schmutterer, 1969). Mealybugs can walk from one canopy to another when they are touching, so pruning can prevent spread of an infestation.

Biological Control

Noyes (2016) provides a list of known hymenopteran parasitoids of F. virgata. In Egypt, three species of Coccinellidae, two species of Neuroptera and three parasitoid wasp species (Leptomastix sp. and two species of Tetrastichus) were reported attacking F. virgata (Awadallah et al., 1979). In India,  a coccinellid predator (Scymnus sp.) has been reported attacking F. virgata, controlling a population kept in culture (Ghose and Paul, 1972); also, the predatory caterpillar of Spalgis epius has been recorded feeding on the mealybugs (Chako and Bhat, 1976).

According to Zimmerman (1948), F. virgata was first recorded in the Hawaiian Islands in 1898 but was a widespread and common pest in the islands long before this. It is no longer common there as it has been controlled by the coccinellids Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, Olla v-nigrum and Azya luteipes, together with the syrphid Alloagrapta obliqua.

Pesticide-resistant populations of F. virgata were effectively controlled in guava orchards in India by the release of C. montrouzieri. The local natural enemies Aenasius advena (an encyrtid parasitoid) and Scymnus coccivora (a cocinellid predator) also helped control the mealybugs (Mani et al., 1990).

Bartlett (1978) gave an account of the introduced parasitoids and predators used to control F. virgata.

Chemical Control

Diazinon, malathion and dimethoate are effective in controlling F. virgata; however, these chemicals have to be sprayed repeatedly to achieve satisfactory control (Schmutterer, 1969). Prothiofos, either alone or with mineral oil, gave better control of F. virgata on guava in South Africa than did malathion, and resulted in negligible residues (Villiers and Stander, 1978).

In Florida, F. virgata on Caladium foliage was controlled by four sprays of permethrin at weekly intervals. Diflubenzuron reduced populations by about half. Permethrin provided the most effective control 21 days after dip treatments of tubers, and bendiocarb dip treatment was also very effective (Price, 1979).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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There is a lack of documentation of the environmental requirements/limitations for F. virgata.  It would be helpful to have a CLIMEX analysis done to assess how much further it is likely to spread, and which areas are at risk of invasion.

References

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10/06/2016 Datasheet Updated by:

Gillian Watson, California Department of Food & Agriculture, Sacramento, California, USA

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