Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Hemiberlesia pitysophila
(pine needle hemiberlesian scale)



Hemiberlesia pitysophila (pine needle hemiberlesian scale)


  • Last modified
  • 15 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Hemiberlesia pitysophila
  • Preferred Common Name
  • pine needle hemiberlesian scale
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
  • There are no pictures available for this datasheet

    If you can supply pictures for this datasheet please contact:

    CAB International
    OX10 8DE
  • Distribution map More information

Don't need the entire report?

Generate a print friendly version containing only the sections you need.

Generate report


Top of page

Preferred Scientific Name

  • Hemiberlesia pitysophila Takagi

Preferred Common Name

  • pine needle hemiberlesian scale

EPPO code

  • HEBEPI (Hemiberlesia pitysophila)

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Hemiptera
  •                         Suborder: Sternorrhyncha
  •                             Unknown: Coccoidea
  •                                 Family: Diaspididae
  •                                     Genus: Hemiberlesia
  •                                         Species: Hemiberlesia pitysophila

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page There has never been any confusion over the identity of this species. It was described in the genus Hemiberlesia and has never been placed in any other genus.


Top of page In life, scale cover of the adult female of H. pitysophila is oval, convex, dirty white to mid-brown, with buff to red-brown submarginal exuviae that may be paler or darker than the secreted scale. The scale cover of the developing male is similar to but smaller than that of the female, and elongate oval in shape.

The absence of perivulvar pores from the pygidium suggests that this species is probably ovoviviparous. In the female, the first-instar larva possess legs and well-developed antennae; the second instar lacks legs and its antennae are reduced to stubs. The second instar is smaller than the adult female and lacks a vulva. In the male, the first two instars resemble those of the female and feed; the third and fourth developmental stages are the non-feeding prepupa and pupa. The adult male probably has well-developed legs and antennae, one pair of wings, long genitalia and no mouthparts.

When studied under a compound light microscope, the slide-mounted adult female is membranous and pyriform. The pygidium has large median lobes, separated by at least 1/3 of the width of a median lobe; second lobes reduced but sclerotized; and third lobes very reduced or completely obsolete. A large anal opening is situated near the posterior margin of the pygidium (less than 2.3 times its length from base of median lobes). Paraphyses are present, shorter than the lobes, situated only on the margin between the third lobes. Perivulvar pores are present; also marginal plates reaching beyond the tips of the median lobes, each moderately to little fringed, the outermost plates being the smallest and least elaborate in shape.


Top of page H. pitysophila is a native of Japan, and has been introduced accidentally to China. It has not been recorded from Europe, Africa, the Western Hemisphere, Australia, or from the Pacific islands.

Distribution Table

Top 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/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


ChinaRestricted distributionCABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-FujianPresentChen et al., 2006
-GuangdongPresentLiang, 1993; Liang, Wilson; Tao, 1999; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-HainanPresentChiu, 1993; Tao, 1999; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-Hong KongPresentWilson, 1993; Tao, 1999; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-LiaoningPresentHuang et al., 2004
-MacauPresentTao, 1999; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-ShaanxiPresentXie, 1982
JapanRestricted distributionKawai, 1980; Tao, 1999; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-Ryukyu ArchipelagoPresentTachikawa, 1988; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
TaiwanPresentTao, 1999; Wong et al., 1999; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014

Risk of Introduction

Top of page H. pitysophila is a damaging pest of pine tree plantations, especially when introduced in the absence of natural enemies. Planting material of Pinus species should not be transported from China or Japan to other countries without thorough phytosanitary precautions.

Habitat List

Top of page

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page H. pitysophila is oligophagous on the plant family Pinaceae, genus Pinus (Takagi, 1969; Tao, 1999), and is noted for being particularly injurious to the commercial species P. massoniana and P. luchuensis. It is less injurious to P. elliotii, P. taeda, P. thunbergii and P. caribaea (Pan et al., 1987) but these species are not as productive as P. luchuensis and P. massoniana in commercial plantations.

Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage


Top of page H. pitysophila infests the needles (leaves) of its hosts. Heavy infestations can cause premature needle drop and sometimes bending of infested branches (Wilson, 1993); heavy infestation over 3-5 years can kill the tree (Pan et al., 1987).

List of Symptoms/Signs

Top of page
SignLife StagesType
Growing point / external feeding
Leaves / abnormal leaf fall
Leaves / external feeding
Leaves / yellowed or dead
Whole plant / dead heart
Whole plant / plant dead; dieback

Biology and Ecology

Top of page H. pitysophila reproduces sexually (Ding et al., 1988). Gu and Murakami (1990) mention that each adult female produced an average of 5.7 eggs in Japan, and ovipositing females lived for an average of 9.3 days. There are probably two immature instars in the female.

Pan et al. (1989a) found that H. pitysophila had five to six overlapping generations per year in southern China. Pan et al. (1989b) found that temperature was the main factor influencing the population growth and forest decline, and pest mortality increased outside the optimum temperature range of 18-23°C; they also found that dense stands of trees favoured the incidence and development of the pest.

In China, Tong et al. (1988) found that air temperature was the main influence on population size, with 19.5°C averaged over 10 days being the optimum for the growth and development of the insect, but monthly precipitation over 100 mm was detrimental to reproduction. In Ishigaki Island, Japan, survival of H. pitysophila from crawler to ovipositing female was estimated to be 8.41% (Gu and Murakami, 1990).

Crawlers are the primary dispersal stage and move to new areas of the plant or are dispersed by wind or animal contact. Mortality due to abiotic factors is high in this stage. Heavy rain decreases survival (Tong et al., 1988). Dispersal of sessile adults and eggs occurs through human transport of infested plant material.

Natural enemies

Top of page
Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Anystis baccarum Predator Adults/Nymphs China
Aphytis huidongensis Parasite Liang GuangHong, 2008
Azotus perspeciosus Parasite Huang et al., 2005
Chilocorus kuwanae Predator Adults/Nymphs
Coccobius azumai Parasite Adults/Nymphs
Encarsia amicula Parasite Adults/Nymphs
Encarsia arnica Parasite Liang GuangHong, 2008
Encarsia citrina Parasite
Encarsia fasciata Parasite Liang GuangHong, 2008
Marietta carnesi Parasite Huang et al., 2005
Marietta carnesi Parasite
Mycosphaerella tassiana Pathogen

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page The main natural enemy responsible for regulation of H. pitysophila populations in Japan is Coccobius azumai (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) (Gu and Murakami, 1990); it parasitizes adult females before oviposition begins. This species was introduced to southern China (Guangdong Province) as a biological control agent in 1987-1989 (Ding et al., 1995). In China, the parasitism rate by C. azumai was recorded as 3.3-32.9% once the parasitoid had established fully (Xie et al., 1997; Gu and Chen, 1998).

In China, Liang and Chen (1990) reported on a preliminary survey of parasitoid wasps of H. pitysophila, and Wu and Shen (1990) investigated its control by the predatory mite Anystis baccarum. A preliminary report on control of H. pitysophila in China using the fungus Cladosporium cladosporioides was made by Pan et al. (1989a).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page The main dispersal phase of H. pitysophila is the first-instar crawler, which is probably capable of walking no more than a metre or so, within the same tree or possibly from one tree to another if the branches are touching. Crawlers probably survive only a few days if they fail to find a suitable feeding site. However, they can be carried greater distances by the wind and on larger animals (including people) as they move around the forest. H. pitysophila could be carried between countries on shipments of infested plants or freshly-cut logs, and on freshly contaminated vehicles, equipment and clothing.

Plant Trade

Top of page
Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Bark larvae Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx larvae Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Fruits (inc. pods) larvae Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Leaves adults; eggs; larvae Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Seedlings/Micropropagated plants larvae Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches larvae Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Growing medium accompanying plants
True seeds (inc. grain)


Top of page H. pitysophila is an introduced pest of pine trees in China (Guangdong) (Lian and Tang, 1985). Pan et al. (1987) reported that at high population densities it can kill both young and old pine trees within 3-5 years. It has spread through 16 Chinese counties since 1982, infesting 4,700,000 mu (= 314900 ha; 1 mu = 0.067 ha) of pine forest, of which 1,200,000 mu (= 80,400 ha) has been destroyed. Pinus elliottii, P. caribaea, P. taeda and P. thunbergii are fairly tolerant of the pest, but are inferior to P. massoniana in afforestation programmes. The species is a pest of Pinus luchuensis in Japan (Tachikawa, 1988).


Top of page Microscopic examination of slide-mounted adult females is required for authoritative identification to species. An electronic, illustrated key to economically important Diaspididae, including H. pitysophila and Hemiberlesia rapax, is given by Watson (2002). Pictures in life are provided by Wong et al. (1999) and Kawai (1980); taxonomic illustrations are given by Takagi (1969).

Detection and Inspection

Top of page The needles and needle bases should be examined very closely in good light, assisted by a x8 hand lens and torch if necessary. Look for oval, convex, dirty white to mid-brown scale covers, each with buff to red-brown submarginal exuviae.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page Microscopic examination of slide-mounted adult females is required for authoritative identification to species. H. pitysophila is morphologically similar to Hemiberlesia rapax, but H. rapax has not been recorded feeding on species of Pinus so far. H. pitysophila differs from H. rapax in having a whitish to mid-brown scale cover with red-brown exuviae and, in the slide-mounted adult female, a row of about five macroducts on either side of pygidial segment V. In contrast, H. rapax has a yellowish to reddish-brown scale cover with dull brown exuviae and, in the slide-mounted adult female, only one or two macroducts on either side of pygidial segment V.

Prevention and Control

Top 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.

Most of the relevant literature for this section is entirely in Japanese or Chinese; the comments below are based on English abstracts only.

Cultural Control

Since crawlers of H. pitysophila can only walk short distances, thinning of afforested areas to minimise touching of tree canopies will reduce the spread of the scale infestation from tree to tree.

Chemical Control

Chiu et al. (1993) found that chinaberry seed oil and rubber tree seed oil gave effective control in Hainan Province, China, without adversely affecting the populations of parasitoid wasps. Of the pesticides tested against H. pitysophila in Guangdong Province, China, by Pan et al. (1987), quinalphos and oil emulsions were most effective, and aerial sprays with 'Emulsion 82' gave good control in large-scale trials.

Biological Control

In Japan, the main natural enemy of H. pitysophila is the hymenopteran parasitoid, Coccobius azumai. This species was described originally from Japan (Tachikawa, 1988). Gu and Murakami (1990) carried out ecological studies on H. pitysophila and C. azumai in Japan. This parasitoid has been introduced to China, where Xie et al. (1997) evaluated its role in the effective and stable control of H. pitysophila.

Phytosanitary Measures

Pine material (both rooted plants and freshly cut Pinus branches and logs) from areas where H. pitysophila is established should be carefully inspected at plant quarantine. It should be fumigated before export.


Top of page

CABI/EPPO, 2003. Hemiberlesia pitysophila. Distribution Maps of Plant Pests, No. 642. Wallingford, UK: CAB International.

Chen ShunLi; Zhang FeiPing; Tong YingHua, 2006. Spread and distribution of Hemiberlesia pitysophila Takagi on the different tips of pine. Journal of Nanjing Forestry University (Natural Sciences Edition), 30(6):79-82.

Chiu SF, 1993. Investigations on botanical insecticides in south China - an update. Botanical pesticides in integrated pest management Rajahmundry, India: Indian Society of Tobacco Science, 134-137

Chiu SF; Liu XQ; Huang ZX; Chen WK; Wei XK; Wen FY, 1993. The chemical control of the pine armoured scale Hemiberlesia pitysophila Takagi. Acta Entomologica Sinica, 36(2):177-184

Ding DC; Pan WY; Tang ZY; Xie GL; Lian JH, 1995. Biology of Coccobius azumai Tachikawa (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae). (In Chinese.) Entomological Knowledge, 38(1):46-53.

Ding DC; Tang XH; Du JW; Pan WY; Lian JH, 1988. Mating behaviour of Hemiberlesia pitysophila Takagi (Homoptera: Diaspididae). Contributions from Shanghai Institute of Entomology, 8:88

EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization.

Greathead DJ, 1990. Crawler behaviour and dispersal. 1.4.3. In: Rosen D, ed. Armoured Scales, their Biology, Natural Enemies and Control. World Crop Pests, Volume 4A. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier, 305-308.

Gu D; Murakami Y, 1990. Ecological studies on the pine needle hemiberlesian scale, Hemiberlesia pitysophila Takagi (Homoptera: Diaspididae) and its parasitoid, Coccobius azumai Tachikawa (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae). Science Bulletin of the Faculty of Agriculture, Kyushu University, 45(1-2):31-36

Gu DeXiang; Chen YongGe, 1998. Life tables of Hemiberlesia pitysophila Takagi and its parasitism rate by Coccobius azumai Tachikawa. Natural Enemies of Insects, 20(4):156-163; 3 ref.

Huang Jian; Wang ZhuHong; Lin QingYuan, 2005. Notes on two species of hyperparasitoids (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) of Hemiberlesia pitysophila (Homoptera: Diaspididae). Journal of Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (Natural Science Edition), 34(2):148-152.

Huang JinShui; Ke YuZhu; Tang QiLiang; Zhong JingHui; Ye JianXiong, 2004. Study on tending operations to control over harm of pine scale in urban park. Chinese Forestry Science and Technology, 3(4):96-100.

Kawai S, 1980. Scale Insects of Japan in Colours. Tokyo, Japan: National Agriculture Education Association, 455 pp.

Lian JH; Tang ZY, 1985. Experimental control of Hemiberlesia pitysophila Takayi with 'Emulsion 82'. Forest Science and Technology (Linye Keji Tongxun), 9:29-31

Liang GQ; Chen ZY, 1990. A preliminary survey of parasitoid wasps of Hemiberlesia pitysophila. Natural Enemies of Insects, 12(1):1-6, 20

Liang GuangHong, 2008. Prelimary investigation and report of local parasitoids of Hemiberlesia pitysophila Takagi in Fujian province. Hubei Minzu Xueyuan Xuebao Ziran Kexue Ban / Journal of Hubei University for Nationalities - Natural Science edition, 26(4):440-443.

Pan WY; Chen SL; Lian JH; Qiu HZ; Lan G, 1989. A preliminary report on control of Hemiberlesia pitysophila using Cladosporium cladosporioides. Forest Pest and Disease, No. 3:22-23

Pan WY; Tang ZY; Chen ZF; Yang ZX; Lian JH, 1989. Studies on bionomics of Hemiberlesia pitysophila and its control. Forest Pest and Disease, 1:1-6

Pan WY; Tang ZY; Xia GL; Lian JH; Hu JL, 1987. Studies on a new destructive forest pest in south China: pine needle Hemiberlesian scale (Coccoidea: Diaspididae). Contributions from Shanghai Institute of Entomology, 7:177-189

Tachikawa T, 1988. A new and economically important species of Coccobius (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) parasitic on Hemiberlesia pitysophila Takagi (Homoptera: Diaspididae) in Okinawa, Japan. Transactions of the Shikoku Entomological Society, 19(1-2):67-71

Takagi S, 1969. Diaspididae of Taiwan based on material collected in connection with the Japan - U.S. co-operative science programme, 1965 (Homoptera: Coccoidea). Part I. Insecta Matsumurana, Series Entomology, 32:1-110.

Tao C, 1999. List of Coccoidea (Homoptera) of China. Taichung, Taiwan: Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute, Wufeng, 1-176.

Tong CJ; Tang ZY; Pan WY, 1988. Preliminary study on the fluctuation of natural populations of Hemiberlesia pitysophila. Forest Science and Technology, 2:6-11

Viggiani G; Hui R, 1986. Two new aphelinids from China (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea). Bollettino del Laboratorio di Entomologia Agraria "Filippo Silvestri", 43:35-39

Watson GW, 2002. Arthropods of economic importance: Diaspididae of the world. An illustrated identification guide and information source. CD-ROM. Expert Center for Taxonomic Identification (ETI), University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. ISBN No. 90-75000-48-0.

Wilson LF, 1993. China's Masson pine forests: cure or curse? Journal of Forestry, 91(1):30-33.

Wong CY; Chen SP; Chou LP, 1999. Guidebook to scale insects of Taiwan. (In Chinese.) Taichung, Taiwan: Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute, 1-98.

Wu WJ; Shen SP, 1990. Control by the predatory mite Anystis baccarum of Hemiberlesia pitysophila (Homoptera: Diaspididae). Natural Enemies of Insects, 12(2):100

Xie GuoLin; Pan WuYao; Tang ZiyYing; Ding DeCheng; Lian JunHe, 1997. Evaluation on the effective and stable control of Hemiberlesia pitysophila Takagi with Coccobius azumai Tachikawa. Acta Entomologica Sinica, 40(2):135-144; 9 ref.

Xie Y, 1982. The scale insects of the forest and fruit trees in Shanxi of China. China Forestry Publishing House, 147 pp.

Distribution Maps

Top of page
You can pan and zoom the map
Save map