Invasive Species Compendium

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Heteropsylla cubana
(leucaena psyllid)

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Datasheet

Heteropsylla cubana (leucaena psyllid)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 14 July 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Heteropsylla cubana
  • Preferred Common Name
  • leucaena psyllid
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Adults slender, 1.5-2 mm long, usually yellowish-green but some may be varying shades of brown; wings become transparent with age.
TitleAdult
CaptionAdults slender, 1.5-2 mm long, usually yellowish-green but some may be varying shades of brown; wings become transparent with age.
CopyrightAllan T. Showler
Adults slender, 1.5-2 mm long, usually yellowish-green but some may be varying shades of brown; wings become transparent with age.
AdultAdults slender, 1.5-2 mm long, usually yellowish-green but some may be varying shades of brown; wings become transparent with age. Allan T. Showler
Whitish when newly hatched, nymphs turn various colours - yellow, light green, green, tan, orange, but mostly yellowish-green.
TitleNymphs on Leucaena
CaptionWhitish when newly hatched, nymphs turn various colours - yellow, light green, green, tan, orange, but mostly yellowish-green.
CopyrightAllan T. Showler
Whitish when newly hatched, nymphs turn various colours - yellow, light green, green, tan, orange, but mostly yellowish-green.
Nymphs on LeucaenaWhitish when newly hatched, nymphs turn various colours - yellow, light green, green, tan, orange, but mostly yellowish-green.Allan T. Showler
Lef, nymphs and adults; right, eggs and nymphs, on subabal leaves.
TitleNymphs and adults on subabal leaves
CaptionLef, nymphs and adults; right, eggs and nymphs, on subabal leaves.
Copyright©S.D. Sawant
Lef, nymphs and adults; right, eggs and nymphs, on subabal leaves.
Nymphs and adults on subabal leavesLef, nymphs and adults; right, eggs and nymphs, on subabal leaves.©S.D. Sawant
P. yaseeni has been introduced from tropical America to parts of Asia as a classical biological control agent for Heteropsylla cubana.|Psyllaephagus yaseeni, a parasitic wasp that has been introduced from tropical America to parts of Asia as a classical biological control agent.
TitleAdult|Psyllaephagus yaseeni, parasite of H. cubana
CaptionP. yaseeni has been introduced from tropical America to parts of Asia as a classical biological control agent for Heteropsylla cubana.|Psyllaephagus yaseeni, a parasitic wasp that has been introduced from tropical America to parts of Asia as a classical biological control agent.
CopyrightAllan T. Showler
P. yaseeni has been introduced from tropical America to parts of Asia as a classical biological control agent for Heteropsylla cubana.|Psyllaephagus yaseeni, a parasitic wasp that has been introduced from tropical America to parts of Asia as a classical biological control agent.
Adult|Psyllaephagus yaseeni, parasite of H. cubanaP. yaseeni has been introduced from tropical America to parts of Asia as a classical biological control agent for Heteropsylla cubana.|Psyllaephagus yaseeni, a parasitic wasp that has been introduced from tropical America to parts of Asia as a classical biological control agent.Allan T. Showler

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Heteropsylla cubana D.L. Crawford

Preferred Common Name

  • leucaena psyllid

Other Scientific Names

  • Heteropsylla incisa (Sulc)

EPPO code

  • HETYCU (Heteropsylla cubana)

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Hemiptera
  •                         Suborder: Sternorrhyncha
  •                             Unknown: Psylloidea
  •                                 Family: Psyllidae
  •                                     Genus: Heteropsylla
  •                                         Species: Heteropsylla cubana

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page H. cubana was first described in 1914 from Cuba (Crawford, 1914; Waterhouse and Norris, 1987); this name is considered to be a senior synonym for H. incisa created by Burckhardt (Nakahara et al., 1987).

For further information on taxonomy and identification, see Muddiman (1992).

Description

Top of page Eggs

Eggs are oval, 0.3 mm in length and 0.1 mm wide. When oviposited, the eggs are whitish, but turn light tan after one day. As the eggs mature, the colour deepens to orange or reddish-brown. One day prior to eclosion, a pair of red eye spots appear at the most pointed end of the egg.

Nymphs

H. cubana nymphs are dorso-ventrally flat and oblong from a dorsal perspective. Although whitish when newly hatched, nymphs eventually turn various shades of colours: yellow, light green, green, tan, or orange, but most are yellowish-green. The psyllid nymph undergoes five wingless instars before moulting to winged adulthood.

Adults

H. cubana adults are slender and 1.5-2 mm long - on average, the female is 2 mm long and the male is 1.8 mm long. They are usually yellowish-green in colour but some may be varying shades of brown. The wings of newly moulted adults are opaque and grey, but become transparent with age.

For further information on taxonomy and identification, see Crawford (1914), Caldwell and Martorell (1952), Muddiman (1992).

Distribution

Top of page The distribution of H. cubana is closely tied to that of its primary host, Leucaena leucocephala, which is indigenous to parts of tropical America but was introduced to Asia by the Spanish in the 1600s.

Before 1983, when H. cubana was first detected in Florida, little attention was given to this insect in its native habitats in Central America, parts of South America and many Caribbean islands. However, by April 1984, air travel seems to have facilitated the spread of the leucaena psyllid to Hawaii (Napompeth, 1990). From there, H. cubana has spread rapidly by unconfirmed means which could involve transport on ships or aircraft, or by wind currents, to reach other Pacific islands including the Ryukyu islands of Japan, southern and western China, Taiwan, south-east Asia, many of the Australo-Pacific islands, Australia, parts of the Indian subcontinent and, most recently, several countries in East Africa where leucaena trees are also grown (FAO, 1994; Showler, 1995).

H. cubana is likely to continue to expand its distribution to other suitable areas of Asia and Africa - and even Europe - where its host plants exist in sufficient numbers to sustain populations. It is still spreading in Africa (S Murphy, IIBC, personal communication, 1996).

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

BangladeshPresentFAO, 1994
Brunei DarussalamPresentWaterhouse, 1993
CambodiaPresentWaterhouse, 1993; FAO, 1994
ChinaRestricted distributionFAO, 1994
-Hong KongPresentFAO, 1994
-MacauPresentFAO, 1994
Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)PresentFAO, 1994
IndiaPresentVeeresh, 1990; FAO, 1994
IndonesiaWidespreadShowler & Melcher,1995; Oka, 1990; Waterhouse, 1993
-Nusa TenggaraPresentMiura, 2004
JapanPresentFAO, 1994
-Ryukyu ArchipelagoPresentFAO, 1994
LaosPresentShowler, 1995; Waterhouse, 1993; FAO, 1994
MalaysiaPresentGuan-Soon et al., 1990; Showler and Melcher, 1995
MyanmarPresentWaterhouse, 1993; FAO, 1994
NepalPresentShowler, 1995; FAO, 1994
PhilippinesPresentShowler, 1995; Sanchez, 1990; FAO, 1994
SingaporePresentWaterhouse, 1993
Sri LankaPresentGunasena et al., 1990; FAO, 1994
TaiwanPresentPan, 1990; FAO, 1994
ThailandPresentNapompeth, 1990; Showler and Melcher, 1995
VietnamPresentIch and Tru, 1990; Waterhouse, 1993; FAO, 1994

Africa

BurundiPresentFAO, 1994
KenyaPresentIntroduced1992 Invasive FAO, 1994; IPPC-Secretariat, 2005
MauritiusPresentFAO, 1994
RéunionPresentFAO, 1994
TanzaniaPresentFAO, 1994
UgandaPresentFAO, 1994
ZimbabwePresentMatimati et al., 2009

North America

BermudaPresentFAO, 1994
MexicoPresentCPPC; IIE, 1988
USAPresentCPPC; Napompeth, 1990
-FloridaPresentNapompeth, 1990
-HawaiiPresentNapompeth, 1990

Central America and Caribbean

AnguillaPresentFAO, 1994
Antigua and BarbudaPresentCPPC; IIE, 1988; FAO, 1994
BahamasPresentCPPC; IIE, 1988; FAO, 1994
BarbadosPresentCPPC; IIE, 1988; FAO, 1994
British Virgin IslandsPresentFAO, 1994
CubaPresentCPPC; IIE, 1988
Dominican RepublicPresentCPPC; IIE, 1988; FAO, 1994
El SalvadorPresentCPPC; IIE, 1988
GrenadaPresentSchotman, 1989
JamaicaPresentCPPC; IIE, 1988
NicaraguaPresentCPPC; IIE, 1988
PanamaPresentCPPC; IIE, 1988
Puerto RicoPresentCPPC; IIE, 1988; FAO, 1994
Saint LuciaPresentSchotman, 1989
Trinidad and TobagoPresentSchotman, 1989
United States Virgin IslandsPresentCPPC; Napompeth, 1990

South America

ChilePresentOlivares and Burckhardt, 2002
ColombiaPresentCPPC; IIE, 1988
PeruPresentCPPC; IIE, 1988
SurinamePresentCPPC; IIE, 1988

Oceania

AustraliaPresentBray and Sands, 1987; CABI, 1990; FAO, 1994
-QueenslandPresentMullen and Gutteridge, 2002
Cook IslandsPresentFAO, 1994
FijiPresentFAO, 1994
French PolynesiaPresentFAO, 1994
GuamPresentFAO, 1994
New CaledoniaPresentFAO, 1994
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentFAO, 1994
Papua New GuineaIntroduced, establishedFAO, 1994
SamoaPresentIIE, 1988
Solomon IslandsPresentFAO, 1994
TongaPresentFAO, 1994

Risk of Introduction

Top of page There are three means of dispersal for H. cubana: through transport of infested plant material, by flight and by wind. Spread by transport is the only means that can be controlled by the application of quarantine regulations. However, it appears as though H. cubana is not on any country's quarantine list of prohibited pests.

Habitat

Top of page H. cubana is generally found where Leucaena is cultivated in monocultures, used as a shade tree or intercropping tree, or grows wild. The tree is infested from sea level to elevations not much higher than 3000 m, including parts of the Himalayas.

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page All thirteen species and all known hybrids of Leucaena are susceptible to some degree. H. cubana seems to attack few other plant taxa, though Mimosa spp. and Piptadenia spp. appear to be susceptible, and other studies have indicated that the psyllid can also subsist on Albizia saman (Napompeth, 1990).

H. cubana infested Leucaena spp. in its indigenous habitat which was restricted to the Western Hemisphere south of the USA until it was found on Leucaena spp. in Florida in 1983, Hawaii in 1984, and Asia in 1985 (unconfirmed reports suggest that H. cubana may have arrived in Indonesia as early as 1981). It was also noted in Bermuda in 1927 (Muddiman et al., 1992).The spread of H. cubana to Asia was certainly facilitated by the adoption of L. leucocephala there as a multipurpose legume tree after the plant was introduced to Asia by the Spanish in the 1600s (Showler, 1995).

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
AlbiziaFabaceaeOther
LeucaenaFabaceaeOther
Leucaena diversifoliaFabaceaeMain
Leucaena leucocephala (leucaena)FabaceaeMain
Mimosa (sensitive plants)FabaceaeOther
Samanea saman (rain tree)FabaceaeMain

Growth Stages

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

Symptoms

Top of page H. cubana nymphs and adults feed on the phloem of shoots, young leaves and, to a lesser extent, flowers. Older leaves are generally not attacked. Massive populations can cause necrosis of shoots, stunting, defoliation, and even death of the tree. Complete defoliation and death of leucaena stands is known to have occurred in some places. H. cubana produces copious amounts of honeydew which gives rise to the development of a black sooty mould on shoots and leaflets. H. cubana infestations are determined largely by the presence of nymphs and adults on the growing tips of Leucaena.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Growing point / dead heart
Growing point / dieback
Growing point / distortion
Growing point / dwarfing; stunting
Growing point / external feeding
Growing point / honeydew or sooty mould
Inflorescence / blight; necrosis
Inflorescence / dieback
Inflorescence / discoloration panicle
Inflorescence / dwarfing; stunting
Inflorescence / external feeding
Inflorescence / fall or shedding
Inflorescence / honeydew or sooty mould
Inflorescence / twisting and distortion
Inflorescence / wilt
Leaves / abnormal leaf fall
Leaves / honeydew or sooty mould
Leaves / honeydew or sooty mould

Biology and Ecology

Top of page Showler and Melcher (1995) provided a synopsis of H. cubana's biology and life cycle which is somewhat variable depending upon the region and habitat. CABI (1994) also describe this insect's life cycle and biology.

Immediately after hatching, first-instar nymphs begin to feed gregariously near the oviposition site. As the nymphs grow through five instars to adulthood, they colonize and feed on other terminal portions of stems, branches and petioles of young leaves. Later-instar nymphs seem to be less gregarious than the early instars; they begin to feed in a solitary manner as the leaflets unfold. Eggs, nymphs and adults can be found together on shoot terminals.

Mating, according to Rauf et al. (1990), can occur more than once for both males and females, and it generally occurs from 07.00 to 17.00 h. H. cubana lays its eggs in groups on very young shoots between the folds of developing leaflets (usually on the upper surfaces) and leaflets may be virtually covered with eggs when psyllid populations are high. Each female can produce 300-500 eggs, with an average of 241 eggs. Eggs are mostly laid on the upper surface of unfolded leaflets, attached by a posterior pedicel. Usually 4-5 eggs are laid per leaflet, but this can increase to 16 where populations are high. A female can lay as many as 60 eggs in one day. The incubation period for eggs seems to differ from area to area, but it is generally 2-5 days.

The duration of the life cycle varies from one location to another, but on average, the life cycle from egg to adult takes 10-20 days with several overlapping generations per year. Studies by Rauf et al. (1990) indicated that eggs hatch about 3 days after being deposited, and nymphs passed through five instars within 8 days; the duration of each instar was 1.0, 1.0, 1.0, 1.6 and 3.3 days, respectively. Longevity of adult females averaged 14.5 days and that of males, 9.7 days. It takes 11-20 days for the leucaena psyllid to develop from egg to adult, and generations are overlapping.

CABI (1994) summarized aspects of H. cubana populations, using life table information reported by Rauf et al. (1990) for Indonesia and Napompeth and Maneeratana (1990) for Thailand. The net reproductive rate of increase differed among the two countries (R0=51.35 in Indonesia, 139.18 in Thailand), but other biological characteristics were more similar, such as the cohort generation time (Tc=14.92 days in Indonesia, 17.95 days in Thailand), the intrinsic rate increase of Indonesia (rm=0.264) and the capacity of increase in Thailand (rc=0.275), and the finite rate of increase for Indonesia and Thailand was 1.305 and 1.361, respectively. In Thailand, Napompeth and Maneeratana (1990) showed that the population doubling time was 2.52 days which may explain how extensive damage to host plants can occur so quickly.

In some areas, H. cubana populations tend to increase during cooler seasons and decline to very low levels during warmer periods. However, in other areas populations remain high throughout the year. In some places, such as Yogyakarta, Indonesia, H. cubana populations tend to be higher during the dry season than during the wet season, possibly a result of the favorable conditions during the wet season for fungal pathogens of the psyllid (Mangoendihardjo et al., 1990).

H. cubana is diurnal, and flight of adults can occur in the morning and afternoon.

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Beauveria bassiana Pathogen Adults/Nymphs Philippines; Taiwan
Bothrocalvia pupillata USA; Hawaii Leucaena leucocephala
Carabidae Predator Nymphs
Cheilomenes sexmaculata Predator Adults/Nymphs
Chrysoperla carnea Predator Adults/Nymphs
Conidiobolus coronatus Pathogen Adults/Nymphs
Curinus coeruleus Predator Adults/Nymphs Guam; India; Indonesia; New Caledonia; Philippines; Saipan; USA; Hawaii Leucaena; Leucaena leucocephala
Cycloneda conjugata Predator Adults/Nymphs Trinidad and Tobago Leucaena leucocephala
Entomophaga bukidnonensis Pathogen Adults/Nymphs
Entomophthora Pathogen Adults/Nymphs
Entomophthora philippinensis Pathogen Adults/Nymphs
Erynia triangularis Pathogen Adults/Nymphs
Hirsutella citriformis Pathogen Adults/Nymphs
Hirsutella thompsonii Pathogen Adults/Nymphs
Neozygites heteropsyllae Pathogen Adults/Nymphs
Olla v-nigrum Predator Adults/Nymphs Indonesia; New Caledonia; New Zealand Leucaena
Paecilomyces farinosus Pathogen Adults/Nymphs
Paecilomyces javanicus Pathogen Adults/Nymphs Taiwan
Pantala flavescens Predator
Paratriphleps laevisculus Predator Adults/Nymphs USA; Hawaii Leucaena leucocephala
Psyllaephagus rotundiformis Parasite Hawaii Leucaena
Psyllaephagus yaseeni Parasite Nymphs Hawaii
Rhinacloa forticornis Predator Adults/Larvae/Nymphs USA; Hawaii Leucaena leucocephala
Scipinia horrida Predator Adults/Nymphs
Scymnus gracilis Predator Adults/Nymphs
Sectiliclava Parasite Adults
Tamarixia leucaenae Parasite Nymphs
Tamarixia triozae Parasite Trinidad and Tobago Leucaena leucocephala
Zelus renardii Predator Adults/Nymphs USA; Hawaii Leucaena leucocephala

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page The primary natural enemies of H. cubana in tropical America have thus far been identified as being Curinus coeruleus, Psyllaephagus yaseeni and Tamarixia leucaenae. Others showed potential promise initially, such as Olla v-nigrum, but these have not been demonstrated as being effective enough to warrant significant interest. Each of these four insects, however, has been introduced to Florida, Hawaii, and/or countries in Asia during the 1980s (C. coeruleus and O. v-nigrum, however, were introduced to Hawaii in 1922 and 1908, respectively). Though coccinellid predators are generalist predators and are considered to be less effective than the more specialized parasitoid wasp P. yaseeni, C. coeruleus has shown promise as a classical biological control agent in some Asian countries. P. yaseeni, an endoparasite of first- and second-instar nymphs, has shown a strong capacity to reduce H. cubana populations particularly in Indonesia and the Philippines. Though T. leucaenae, an ectoparasite of third- and fourth-instar nymphs, has shown promise in the laboratory, it has only been released in Thailand and its efficacy in the field is not yet fully known.

Searches for natural enemies have been conducted in tropical America and in some parts of Asia, but further work on identification of natural enemies is required. H. cubana, in tropical America, is not known to be a significant pest of leucaena probably because of the presence of complexes of co-evolved natural enemies and because of less concentrated use. The severe infestations of H. cubana in Asia are probably because of the relatively new concentrated exploitation of leucaena which began in the 1970s, and because of an absence of effective complexes of natural enemies that have evolved alongside the pest in the native habitat.

Some entomopathogens, most of which are fungi, have shown promise and some have caused epidemics among H. cubana infestations. However, these pathogens have not yet been developed for intentional use as biological control agents.

Impact

Top of page Showler (1995) provides a good synopsis of the impacts of H. cubana on cultivation of leucaena, which is largely reiterated here. The economic impacts in tropical America are negligible largely because leucaena is not cultivated with the same intensity as it is in Asia, and because there appear to be complexes of natural enemies which have co-evolved with H. cubana and appear to be keeping populations of the pysllid in check. The uses and cultivation patterns of leucaena vary from country to country in Asia. It is important to note that leucaena is used throughout much of Asia and Africa as a multipurpose legume tree which provides a source of fodder, fuelwood, shade for estate crops, reforestation, timber, erosion control, and nitrogen fixation. For illustrative purposes, specific Asian countries, Australia, and Hawaii, where the economic impacts are known or can be characterized in less quantitative terms, are highlighted (CABI, 1994; Showler, 1995). H. cubana is still spreading in Africa (S Murphy, IIBC, personal communication, 1996).

Indonesia

About 1.2 million ha throughout Indonesia are planted to leucaena, part of the productive agroforestry system for establishing teak plantations in Java. Leucaena fodder made it possible to raise tethered cattle, which released land from pasture for cultivation. The tree is grown on Sumatra to shade cocoa and coffee. In Bali, it shades 12 000 ha of vanilla and on Irian Jaya, it provides shade for oil palms and cocoa. Reforestation with leucaena has arrested serious land degradation in Timor.

H. cubana reached Indonesia in March 1986 and by August it had spread throughout the country. By December 1986, 30 290 ha of leucaena in Central Java alone were damaged, valued at about US$ 315 000, and the pest was declared a national disaster. According to CABI (1990), small-farm livestock capacity fell 75%, equal to about US$ 300 per small farm per year (equivalent to 50% of farm income), and export markets were affected adversely. In Nusa Tenggara, Timor, for example, about US$ 4.4 million per year in livestock exports, and US$ 800 000 in coffee, cocoa, and vanilla exports were lost. Defoliation of leucaena used as shade trees in East Java stimulated vegetative growth of cocoa, which predisposed it to fungal infection; by 1987, cocoa yields had fallen 40%. Lack of shade caused early coffee flowering, bean scorching, and the death of young plants in an estimated 59 000 ha, which would have cost US$ 118 million to replace. Also, coffee beans are dried using leuceana as fuelwood, and this saves US$30 per ton of coffee beans per year. The projected loss to estate crop, animal production, and forestry sectors from 1991 to 1996 is US$ 1.5 billion (CABI, 1990).

Laos

Leucaena is not important in Laos, though it may be used eventually for reforestation. Also, rice-straw fodder could be fortified using leucaena protein to improve livestock. Little is known about H. cubana in Laos, but it is a serious pest in all adjacent countries where leucaena is cultivated. The presence of H. cubana could impinge upon the potential use of leucaena in Laos.

Malaysia

Leucaena is not widely used in Malaysia, but the national policy aims to increase livestock production; 80% of livestock in rural areas are malnourished and 30-40% die annually. Plans to distribute leucaena to small-scale landholders to reduce feed imports and strengthen the cattle industry were halted because of the arrival of H. cubana.

Philippines

In the 1970s, leucaena was widely promoted as a miracle multipurpose tree and it was distributed to farmers for production of fuelwood, fodder, and leafmeal. By 1986, more than 300 000 ha were planted to leucaena, and leafmeal became a major source of income to small farmers. Local demand for leafmeal was about 57 metric tons per year and the demand in Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore was about 194 000 tons per year (US$ 109 per ton). Leucaena is also an important fuel source for homes; plantations have been established for dendrothermal-energy fuelwood; and it has been widely planted for erosion control.

H. cubana arrived in the Philippines in early 1985. Damage reached 80% of total leaucena leafmeal production, and new plantings for leafmeal were stopped within the year. The Manila Seedling Bank's 1200 ha (90 000-120 000 trees per ha) of leucaena, valued at US$ 1.7 million, was devastated. Fodder shortages forced farmers to sell off livestock at suboptimal prices. It was estimated that net monthly income from leucaena plantings fell from 1046 pesos in 1984 to 489 pesos in 1987. In Cebu, leucaena production for making mine posts declined by 65% in 1986.

Thailand

Most of Thailand is not well suited to cultivation of leucaena. It is mainly used by smallholders for fodder, fuelwood, soil conservation, and reforestation. H. cubana was first found in southern Thailand in September 1986 and it spread to the northern highlands by March 1987. By May, 80% of all leucaena trees were infested and further cultivation of leucaena became unfeasible.

India

Cultivation of leucaena began in 1972 and now it covers an area of 10 000 ha in Karnataka State alone. Within only 6 months of the arrival of H. cubana in India, the entire area under leucaena cultivation was infested. The Karnataka Plantation Company was planning on extending leucaena plantings to over 4000 more hectares in 1988, but this idea was abandoned and the 200 000 seedlings then under production were removed instead.

Australia

Leucaena is used for beef cattle grazing. Most leucaena is grown in Queensland over about 20 000 ha, though leucaena also occurs in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. It is postulated that H. cubana could reduce leucaena production by at least 55%. The psyllid is more destructive in the wetter coastal areas than in the drier interior of Queensland so leucaena is still being recommended as a fodder source in those dry areas.

Hawaii

Leucaena is considered by many in Hawaii to be a weed which costs the sugarcane industry about US$ 878 000 per year. However, in the vacant lowlands and on mountain slopes, leucaena is considered to be desirable for prevention of soil erosion. Leucaena is also used as fodder for cattle and it is an important source of nectar for honeybees. The economic impact of H. cubana, partly because of the positive and negative perceptions of leucaena, has not been quantified, but it has been considered important enough to carry out a classical biological control programme against the psyllid.

Africa

Projections on the possible impact of H. cubana have not yet been made, though the pest has already arrived in East Africa.

Detection and Inspection

Top of page Infestations of H. cubana are detected by observing eggs, nymphs, and/or adults on new leaflets. In some cases, leaflets will appear to be yellowish because of the profusion of eggs laid on them. Similarly, nymphal or adult concentrations may give infested leaflets a yellowish colour. Heavy infestations will often be accompanied by a black sticky sooty mould that coats terminal shoots and leaflets. Feeding results in terminal shoots that can be desiccated, stunted, distorted, and necrotic. In cases of extremely heavy infestations, complete defoliation may occur.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page H. cubana closely resembles other species of Heteropsylla but it is morphologically distinct. Microscopic examination of the specimens is necessary for the correct identification of similar species.

For further information on taxonomy and identification, see Crawford (1914), Caldwell and Martorell (1952), Muddiman (1992).

Prevention and Control

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Chemical Control

Several insecticides, such as carbaryl, carbosulfan, cyhalothrin and bifenthin, have shown equivocal results, or in some cases insecticides have suppressed adults without apparent effect on nymphs. Other studies indicate that some pesticides might be useful. However, the possibility of residual pesticides on leucaena fodder could be problematic, and repetitive spraying is generally ineffective and logistically and financially impractical. On estate crop plantations of central Java, systemic pesticides applied to tree wounds were more effective than foliar sprays, but it was found that 5 ml of insecticide per tree at 3-week intervals could cost four times more than biological control using Curinus coeruleus. Economic threshold levels for spraying H. cubana have not been determined, and other chemical tactics (e.g. pheromones and repellents) have not been explored.

Cultural Control

Pruning and grazing of new Leucaena shoots preclude the use of Leucaena as a shade tree for estate crops, although in one Malaysian study grazing new shoots by livestock reduced psyllid populations temporarily. There appear to be no other cultural control tactics that show promise against H. cubana.

Use of other tree species (Showler, 1995) instead of reliance on Leucaena may be an option where other control options fail. In Indonesia, for example, Acacia villosa, Sesbania grandiflora, Gliricidia sepium, and Calliandra calothyrsus are often used. Fuelwood plantations in the Philippines are being replanted with Gmelina arborea, Acacia mangium and Acacia auriculiformis. Farmers in Nepal use Melia azedarach, Artocarpus lakucha, Ficus cunea, Litsea polyantha, Bauhinia purpurea, Choerospondias sp., and Aesandra [Diploknema] butyracea for fodder and Pinus patula, Pinus roxburghii, and Juniperus wallichiana for fuelwood. The Nepali trees best suited to tropical flatlands are Ficus semicordata and Bauhinia spp.; to tropical valleys, Ficus semicordata, Leucaena, Morus alba, and Bauhinia spp.; and to hilly areas, Morus spp., Bauhinia variegata, and Erythrina arborescence.

Host-Plant Resistance

Breeding for resistance against H. cubana has been slow, and the results are largely inconclusive. Some lines of Leucaena lose resistance from generation to generation, year to year, and/or area to area, and others are very susceptible to mealybugs. Studies indicate that some secondary metabolites of Leucaena might impart resistance, but interactions of resistance with environmental factors must be determined in order to direct efforts at obtaining resistance. Resistant or tolerant species of Leucaena (e.g. diversifolia and pallida) do not produce as much fodder as L. leucocephala. Comercialization of resistant varieties has been considered but the seeds tend to be sterile or fail to germinate. Cuttings generally fare poorly.

Biological Control

When H. cubana was found in Hawaii in 1984, efforts to find classical biological control agents to use against it began with an IIBC search for natural enemies in tropical America. The survey yielded spiders, coccinelids, mirids, reduviids, phymatids, wasps, ants, syrphids and predatory wasps; and two parasitoid wasps, Psyllaephagus yaseeni and Tamarixia leucaenae, both of which attack nymphs. Each female wasp lays one egg per nymph and can parasitize 50 nymphs; P. yaseeni is endoparasitic and T. leucaenae is ectoparasitic. After careful quarantine, testing, and propagation in the laboratory, P. yaseeni was released in Hawaii in June 1987, where it has become established. T. leucaenae did not propagate well in the laboratory and, therefore, was not released. A third wasp, Sectiliclava sp., from Mexico, parasitizes adult psyllids and is associated with H. cubana in Mexico, but has not been used in Hawaii or elsewhere as a biological control agent.

The beetles Olla abdominalis and Curinus coeruleus, originally from Mexico, were released in Hawaii in 1908 and 1922, respectively, for control of scale insects and mealybugs. These generalist predators feed on all stages of H. cubana, but tend not to search widely for prey. Curinus was introduced into Thailand in 1987; India, Myanmar, and Vietnam in 1988; and Guam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan) in 1989. Olla was introduced into New Caledonia in 1987 and Thailand in 1989.

Tropical American pathogens of H. cubana include Conidiobolus coronatus, Entomophthora sp., Hirsutella thomsonii, and Paecilomyces. Applications of American and Asian entomopathogens against H. cubana have not been developed.

The following are examples of the uses of classical biological control agents in selected Asian countries as described by Showler (1995).

Indonesia
In August 1986, 8300 C. coeruleus arrived from Hawaii, and 150 extension agents were trained to rear it. The agents then trained farmers to rear it; by December 1986, 10 000 beetles were released. This was effective enough on Central Java coffee estates to replace pesticides in 1988. By 1991, H. cubana was controlled except in areas with long dry seasons (e.g. the Sunda Islands). P. yaseeni was imported to Indonesia from Thailand in late 1990 and in August 1991 it was released in the Sunda Islands where it seems to have become established.

Malaysia
Malaysia has not imported natural enemies of H. cubana.

Nepal
C. coeruleus and O. abdominalis were obtained from Thailand in 1990, but Olla did not survive rearing attempts in the laboratory. C. coeruleus has been released, but its effects against H. cubana have not yet been fully assessed. Use of P. yaseeni and T. leucaenae has been considered but so far these two parasitoids have not been used in Nepal.

Philippines
In 1986, 600 C. coeruleus from Hawaii were released, but only about 20% survived temperature shifts during the first week. More were released during 1986-87, but did not suppress H. cubana populations appreciably. P. yaseeni was discovered in 1990, ostensibly having arrived on wind currents from elsewhere (e.g. Indonesia) and has since spread throughout the country. As a result, leucaena wood and leafmeal production are expected to stabilize by the mid-1990s.

Thailand
C. coeruleus and P. yaseeni were imported in 1987, and O. abdominalis in 1989, all from Hawaii. C. coeruleus and P. yaseeni have become established, but their effects on H. cubana have not been determined.

East Africa
P. yaseeni and T. leucaenae have been introduced and well established in Kenya and Tanzania (S Murphy, IIBC, personal communication, 1996).

References

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