Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Icerya purchasi
(cottony cushion scale)

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Datasheet

Icerya purchasi (cottony cushion scale)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 16 November 2021
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Icerya purchasi
  • Preferred Common Name
  • cottony cushion scale
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • I. purchasi extracts significant quantities of sap from the host plant. Damage is mostly caused by sap depletion; the shoots dry up, defoliation occurs and branches or whole trees may die. Copious honeydew excreted by the scales coats the leaves, res...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Cottony cushion scale (I. purchasi); cluster of adults on a twig, Nairobi, Kenya.
TitleAdults
CaptionCottony cushion scale (I. purchasi); cluster of adults on a twig, Nairobi, Kenya.
CopyrightDavid J. Greathead
Cottony cushion scale (I. purchasi); cluster of adults on a twig, Nairobi, Kenya.
AdultsCottony cushion scale (I. purchasi); cluster of adults on a twig, Nairobi, Kenya.David J. Greathead
TitleCottony cushion scale
Caption
CopyrightPeter A.C. Ooi/CABI BioScience
Cottony cushion scalePeter A.C. Ooi/CABI BioScience

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Icerya purchasi Maskell

Preferred Common Name

  • cottony cushion scale

Other Scientific Names

  • Pericerya purchasi (Maskell)

International Common Names

  • English: Australian bug; citrus fluted scale; fluted scale; mealy scale; white scale
  • Spanish: coccido acanalado; cochinilla acanalada de los agrios; cochinilla algodonosa australiana; cochinilla blanca del naranjo; escama algodonosa de los citricos (Mexico); escama harinosa; escama lanigera
  • French: cochenille australienne; cochenille flûtée; cochenille l'icerya; cochenille pericerya
  • Portuguese: cochonilha australiana; pulgao branco (Brasil)

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: pulgão branco
  • Germany: Australische wollschildlaus
  • Israel: izeriat haadaim
  • Italy: iceria di purchase
  • Japan: iseriya-kaigaramusi
  • Netherlands: geribde djeroek-luis; witte geribde schildluis
  • South Africa: australiese luis
  • Turkey: torbali kosnil

EPPO code

  • ICERPU (Icerya purchasi)

Summary of Invasiveness

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I. purchasi extracts significant quantities of sap from the host plant. Damage is mostly caused by sap depletion; the shoots dry up, defoliation occurs and branches or whole trees may die. Copious honeydew excreted by the scales coats the leaves, resulting in sooty mould growth, which blocks light and air from the leaves. This reduces photosynthesis and the productivity of fruit and forest trees, and disfigures ornamental plants and fruit. Unchecked infestations of the cottony cushion scale can have a severe impact on fruit-growing and horticultural industries, and on the endemic fauna of small islands.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Hemiptera
  •                         Suborder: Sternorrhyncha
  •                             Unknown: Coccoidea
  •                                 Family: Monophlebidae
  •                                     Genus: Icerya
  •                                         Species: Icerya purchasi

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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I. purchasi belongs to the scale insect family Monophlebidae, the giant scales. The genus Icerya has been poorly studied and it is possible that there are other species similar to I. purchasi living in the same geographical areas. Rao (1951) reviewed the known species of Icerya living in the Oriental Region, and a revision of the known species in Australia is currently in progress.

Description

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Immature I. purchasi have black limbs and an orange-brown body that is coated with white and yellow wax. The adult female I. purchasi are easily recognized by their large size (up to 10 mm long), red-brown body colour and covering of granular, white wax. The legs, antennae and body hairs are conspicuously black. The nymphs and adult females produce long, hair-like, transparent rods of wax from the body. On reaching maturity, the female produces a white, fluted, wax ovisac with a series of uniform ridges running lengthwise over the surface. As the ovisac is produced, the rear end of the body is tilted upwards, sometimes almost perpendicular to the plant surface. The ovisac may reach the same length as the body, giving an overall combined length of up to 20 mm.

The males are rarely encountered and do not live long. The immature male stages are similar in appearance to those of the female. Pupation occurs in a fluffy, oblong white cocoon. The adult male has well developed antennae, one pair of dusky wings, a red body and tufts of long setae at the end of the abdomen.

Precise identification of Icerya species requires specimens to be mounted on microscope slides and to be studied under high magnification. The microscopic features of I. purchasi are described and illustrated by Rao (1951), Howell and Beshear (1981), Williams and Watson (1990) and Morales (1991). I. purchasi is distinctive in possessing two pairs of abdominal spiracles, three cicatrices and body setae that are conspicuously black even after staining.

Distribution

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I. purchasi is generally considered to have originated in Australia. It has a wide climatic tolerance and, unlike related Icerya species, has become established as a pest in southern Europe. It is periodically discovered in greenhouses in temperate regions, but is not generally a pest in these situations. The recent discovery of relatively dense infestations in London, UK caused concern initially, but the natural enemy (vedalia beetle, Rodolia cardinalis) has apparently been accidentally introduced also; this appears to have become established in some of the London populations (Salisbury and Booth, 2004).

The distribution map includes records based on specimens of I. purchasi from the collection in the Natural History Museum, London, UK (NHM, various dates).

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.

Last updated: 12 May 2022
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

AlgeriaPresentIntroducedInvasive
AngolaPresentIntroducedInvasive
BeninPresent
Cabo VerdePresentIntroducedInvasive
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresent
Congo, Republic of thePresentIntroducedInvasive
EgyptPresentIntroducedInvasive
EthiopiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
KenyaPresentIntroducedInvasive
LibyaPresentIntroducedInvasive
MadagascarPresentIntroducedInvasive
MalawiPresentIntroducedInvasive
MauritiusPresentIntroducedInvasive
MoroccoPresentIntroducedInvasive
MozambiquePresentIntroducedInvasive
Saint HelenaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-AscensionPresentIntroducedInvasive
São Tomé and PríncipePresentIntroducedInvasive
SenegalPresentIntroducedInvasive
SeychellesPresentIntroducedInvasive
SomaliaPresentIntroducedInvasive
South AfricaPresentIntroducedInvasive
SudanPresentIntroducedInvasive
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedInvasive
TogoPresentIntroducedInvasive
TunisiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
UgandaPresentIntroducedInvasive
ZambiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedInvasive

Asia

AzerbaijanPresent
BangladeshPresentIntroducedInvasive
China
-AnhuiPresentIntroducedInvasive
-FujianPresentIntroducedInvasive
-GuangdongPresentIntroducedInvasive
-GuangxiPresentIntroducedInvasive
-HebeiPresentIntroducedInvasive
-HenanPresentIntroducedInvasive
-HubeiPresentIntroducedInvasive
-HunanPresent
-Inner MongoliaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-JiangsuPresentIntroducedInvasive
-JiangxiPresentIntroducedInvasive
-ShaanxiPresentIntroducedInvasive
-ShandongPresentIntroducedInvasive
-SichuanPresentIntroducedInvasive
-YunnanPresentIntroducedInvasive
-ZhejiangPresentIntroducedInvasive
Cocos IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasive
GeorgiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
Hong KongPresentIntroducedInvasive
IndiaPresent, Localized
-Andhra PradeshPresentIntroducedInvasive
-GujaratPresentIntroducedInvasive
-KarnatakaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-KeralaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-LakshadweepPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Madhya PradeshPresent
-MaharashtraPresentIntroducedInvasive
-OdishaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Uttar PradeshPresent
-West BengalPresentIntroducedInvasive
IndonesiaPresent, Localized
-Irian JayaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-JavaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-SulawesiPresentIntroducedInvasive
-SumatraPresentIntroducedInvasive
IranPresentIntroducedInvasive
IraqPresentIntroducedInvasive
IsraelPresent, WidespreadIntroducedInvasive
JapanPresentIntroduced1908
-HonshuPresentIntroducedInvasive
-KyushuPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Ryukyu IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasive
-ShikokuPresentIntroducedInvasive
JordanPresentIntroducedInvasive
LebanonPresentIntroducedInvasive
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
MaldivesPresentIntroducedInvasive
North KoreaPresentIntroducedInvasive
OmanPresentAl-Jabel Al Akhdher
PakistanPresentIntroducedInvasive
Saudi ArabiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
SingaporePresentIntroducedInvasive
South KoreaPresentIntroducedInvasive
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedInvasive
SyriaPresentIntroducedInvasive
TaiwanPresentIntroducedInvasive
ThailandPresentIntroducedInvasive
TurkeyPresentIntroducedInvasive
VietnamPresentIntroducedInvasive
YemenPresent

Europe

AlbaniaPresentIntroducedInvasive
BulgariaPresentIntroduced1968
CroatiaPresent
CyprusPresent, WidespreadIntroducedInvasive
CzechiaPresentIntroduced1950
FrancePresent, LocalizedIntroducedInvasive
-CorsicaPresentIntroducedInvasive
GermanyPresentBrandenburg
GibraltarPresentIntroducedInvasive
GreecePresentIntroducedInvasive
-CretePresent
HungaryPresent
ItalyPresentIntroducedInvasive
-SardiniaPresent
-SicilyPresentIntroducedInvasive
MaltaPresentIntroducedInvasive
MontenegroPresent
PolandPresent, Localized
PortugalPresentIntroducedInvasive
-AzoresPresentIntroducedInvasive
-MadeiraPresentIntroducedInvasive
RomaniaPresentIntroducedInvasive
RussiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
SerbiaPresent
Serbia and MontenegroPresentIntroducedInvasive
SlovakiaPresent
SloveniaPresentIntroduced1954
SpainPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Canary IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasive
SwitzerlandPresentIntroducedInvasive
United KingdomPresentIntroduced1996

North America

Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroducedInvasive
BahamasPresentIntroducedInvasive
BarbadosPresentIntroducedInvasive
BermudaPresentIntroducedInvasive
Cayman IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasive
CubaPresentIntroducedInvasive
CuraçaoPresentIntroducedInvasive
DominicaPresentIntroducedInvasive
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedInvasive
El SalvadorPresentIntroducedInvasive
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedInvasive
GuatemalaPresentIntroducedInvasive
HaitiPresentIntroducedInvasive
JamaicaPresentIntroducedInvasive
MartiniquePresentIntroducedInvasive
MexicoPresentIntroducedInvasive
MontserratPresentIntroducedInvasive
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedInvasive
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentIntroducedInvasive
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedInvasive
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroducedInvasive
United States
-AlabamaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-ArizonaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-CaliforniaPresentIntroducedInvasiveFirst reported: ca 1868
-FloridaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-GeorgiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedInvasiveFirst reported: pre-1890
-LouisianaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-MississippiPresentIntroducedInvasive
-MontanaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-New MexicoPresentIntroducedInvasive
-North CarolinaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-OklahomaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-South CarolinaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-TexasPresentIntroducedInvasive
-VirginiaPresentIntroducedInvasive

Oceania

AustraliaPresent, Localized
-Lord Howe IslandPresent
-New South WalesPresentNative
-QueenslandPresentNative
-South AustraliaPresentNative
-TasmaniaPresent
-VictoriaPresentNative
Christmas IslandPresentIntroducedInvasive
Federated States of MicronesiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
FijiPresentIntroducedInvasive
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
GuamPresentIntroducedInvasive
KiribatiPresentIntroducedInvasive
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasive
New CaledoniaPresentIntroducedInvasive
New ZealandPresentIntroducedInvasive
Norfolk IslandPresentIntroducedInvasive
Northern Mariana IslandsPresent
PalauPresent
Papua New GuineaPresent
Solomon IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasive
TongaPresentIntroducedInvasive
U.S. Minor Outlying IslandsPresent

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroducedInvasive
BoliviaPresentIntroducedInvasive
BrazilPresent
-AmazonasPresentIntroducedInvasive
-BahiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-CearaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Espirito SantoPresent
-Minas GeraisPresentIntroducedInvasive
-ParaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-ParaibaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-ParanaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-PernambucoPresentIntroducedInvasive
-PiauiPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Rio de JaneiroPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Rio Grande do SulPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Santa CatarinaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Sao PauloPresentIntroducedInvasive
ChilePresentIntroducedInvasive
ColombiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
EcuadorPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasive
French GuianaPresent
GuyanaPresentIntroducedInvasive
ParaguayPresentIntroducedInvasive
PeruPresentIntroducedInvasive
UruguayPresentIntroducedInvasive
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedInvasive

History of Introduction and Spread

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I. purchasi is native to Australia; it was accidentally introduced to California in about 1868 and devastated the citrus industry there until a natural enemy from Australia was introduced in 1888. This was the first ever example of successful classical biological control. The pest also reached New Zealand and South Africa at about the same time, and has subsequently spread widely through most of the tropical and subtropical countries of the world (Bartlett, 1978). Recently it has begun to extend its range northwards, being recorded for the first time breeding outdoors in Paris, France in 2000 (Matile-Ferrero et al., 1999) and in London, UK in 2002 (G Watson, [address available from CABI], personal communication, 2004); this may be due to climate warming (G Watson, [address available from CABI], personal communication, 2004).

Risk of Introduction

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I. purchasi is widespread throughout the tropical and warmer temperate regions. It is probable that it occurs in more countries than are indicated by the distribution map, and it would easily establish in any remaining areas that have appropriate climatic conditions.

Accidental introduction to new territories is possible through the movement of infested live plants through shipping or air transport/mail. This insect moves between countries on live plant material, particularly in shipments of whole ornamental plants and fruit trees.

Hosts/Species Affected

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The list of hosts is not exhaustive. I. purchasi lives on a wide variety of hosts, especially woody plants.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContextReferences
Acacia (wattles)FabaceaeMain
Acacia confusaFabaceaeMain
Acacia dealbata (acacia bernier)FabaceaeOther
Acacia saligna (coojong)FabaceaeUnknown
Șİșman and Ülgentürk (2010)
Acalypha (Copperleaf)EuphorbiaceaeMain
Albizia julibrissin (silk tree)FabaceaeMain
Albizia procera (white siris)FabaceaeOther
BaccharisAsteraceaeOther
BegoniaBegoniaceaeOther
Buxus sempervirens (common boxwood)BuxaceaeOther
Caesalpinia (divi-divi)FabaceaeOther
CajanusFabaceaeOther
Cajanus cajan (pigeon pea)FabaceaeOther
CamelliaTheaceaeOther
Cassia (sennas)FabaceaeOther
Casuarina (beefwood)CasuarinaceaeOther
Casuarina equisetifolia (casuarina)CasuarinaceaeMain
ChoisyaRutaceaeOther
Choisya ternata (mexican orange-blossom)RutaceaeOther
CitrusRutaceaeMain
Citrus limon (lemon)RutaceaeUnknown
Pencheva and Yovkova (2016); Șİșman and Ülgentürk (2010)
Citrus limonia (mandarin lime)RutaceaeUnknown
Citrus reticulata (mandarin)RutaceaeUnknown
Almeida et al. (2018); Șİșman and Ülgentürk (2010)
Citrus sinensis (sweet orange)RutaceaeUnknown
Șİșman and Ülgentürk (2010)
Citrus x paradisi (grapefruit)RutaceaeUnknown
Șİșman and Ülgentürk (2010)
Crotalaria (rattlepods)FabaceaeOther
Cytisus (Broom)FabaceaeMain
Desmodium (tick clovers)FabaceaeOther
ElaeagnusElaeagnaceaeOther
Euphorbia (spurges)EuphorbiaceaeOther
Fragaria (strawberry)RosaceaeOther
FuchsiaOnagraceaeOther
Glycine sojaFabaceaeMain
HebeScrophulariaceaeOther
Hedera helix (ivy)AraliaceaeOther
Hydrangea (hydrangeas)HydrangeaceaeOther
Impatiens (balsam)BalsaminaceaeOther
Indigofera (indigo)FabaceaeMain
Jasminum (jasmine)OleaceaeOther
Juncus (rushes)JuncaceaeOther
Lantana camara (lantana)VerbenaceaeWild host
Laurus (laurel)LauraceaeUnknown
Laurus nobilis (sweet bay)LauraceaeOther
Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweet gum)HamamelidaceaeUnknown
Macadamia integrifolia (macadamia nut)ProteaceaeOther
Malpighia glabra (acerola)MalpighiaceaeOther
Mangifera indica (mango)AnacardiaceaeMain
Maranta bicolorMarantaceaeOther
Medicago sativa (lucerne)FabaceaeOther
Mimosa (sensitive plants)FabaceaeOther
Morus alba (mora)MoraceaeMain
Morus nigra (black mulberry)MoraceaeOther
Nandina domestica (Nandina)BerberidaceaeOther
Olea europaeaOleaceaeUnknown
Parrotia persica (persian ironwood)HamamelidaceaeUnknown
Parthenocissus insertaVitaceaeUnknown
Pelargonium (pelargoniums)GeraniaceaeOther
Pinus (pines)PinaceaeUnknown
PittosporumPittosporaceaeOther
Pittosporum tobira (Japanese pittosporum)PittosporaceaeOther
PlumbagoPlumbaginaceaeOther
Plumbago zeylanicaPlumbaginaceaeOther
Prunus (stone fruit)RosaceaeOther
Psidium guajava (guava)LithomyrtusMain
Psophocarpus tetragonolobus (winged bean)FabaceaeMain
Punica granatum (pomegranate)PunicaceaeOther
Pyracantha coccinea (scarlet firethorn)RosaceaeOther
Quercus (oaks)FagaceaeOther
Ricinus communis (castor bean)EuphorbiaceaeOther
Rosa (roses)RosaceaeMain
Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary)LamiaceaeOther
Schinus (pepper tree)AnacardiaceaeOther
Senecio (Groundsel)AsteraceaeOther
Spartium junceum (Spanish broom)FabaceaeOther
SpiraeaRosaceaeOther
Syringa (lilac)OleaceaeOther
Ulex europaeus (gorse)FabaceaeMain
Vaccinium corymbosum (blueberry)EricaceaeUnknown
Virgilia capensis (snowdrop tree)FabaceaeOther
Viscum cruciatumUnknown

Growth Stages

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Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Vegetative growing stage

Symptoms

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Sap depletion may lead to wilting, leaf drop, dieback, and stunted growth. As with most sap-sucking insects, the production of honeydew leads to the growth of sooty mould.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Growing point / dieback
Leaves / abnormal leaf fall
Leaves / honeydew or sooty mould
Leaves / honeydew or sooty mould
Stems / external feeding
Stems / honeydew or sooty mould
Whole plant / dwarfing

Biology and Ecology

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I. purchasi have four ('female') or five (male) developmental stages. As with all scale insects, the females do not produce wings and look similar to the immature stages. The males possess a single pair of dusky wings. However the 'females' are actually hermaphrodites with fertilization occurring between the eggs and the sperm of the same individual. Sexually functional males are occasionally produced from unfertilized eggs, but mating is not necessary for reproduction (Morales, 1992).

The adult females produce 500 to 2000 bright-red, oblong eggs over a period of 2 to 3 months. The number of eggs produced depends on the body size, condition of the host and climatic conditions. After leaving the egg sac, the crawlers settle along the midribs and veins of the leaves. The next two instars migrate to the larger twigs and branches and eventually moult into the adult 'female' (Morales, 1992). There are two to four generations per year. Cottony cushion scale infestations are often attended by ants that are attracted to the sugary honeydew excreted by the scales (Getu, 1996).


Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Cardiastethus nazarenus Predator Adults; Eggs; Arthropods|Nymphs
Cryptochetum iceryae Parasite Arthropods|Nymphs Bermuda;Chile;Egypt;India;Israel;New Zealand;Peru;Sao Tome and Principe;South Australia;St Kitts Nevis;USA Acacia baileyana; Acalypha; Citrus; Erythrina umbrosus; fruit trees; ornamental plants; roses; Tamarix
Cryptochetum monophlebi Parasite USA Citrus
Cryptolaemus montrouzieri Predator
Decadiomus hughesi Predator Adults; Arthropods|Nymphs
Ereunetis miniuscula Predator Adults; Arthropods|Nymphs
Euseius gossipi Predator Adults; Arthropods|Nymphs
Hippodamia convergens Predator Adults; Arthropods|Nymphs Ecuador Citrus
Holcocera iceryaella Predator Adults; Arthropods|Nymphs
Laetilia coccidivora Predator Adults; Arthropods|Nymphs
Macrosiagon octomaculatum Parasite
Pyroderces rileyi Predator Adults; Arthropods|Nymphs
Rodolia cardinalis Predator Adults; Eggs; Arthropods|Nymphs Antigua; Ascension; Australia; South Australia; Bahamas; Barbados; Bermuda; California; Cayman Islands; Chile; Cyprus; Ecuador; Egypt; Ethiopia; France; Greece; Guam; Hawaii; Hong Kong; Israel; Italy; Kenya; Madagascar; Malta; Montserrat; New Zealand; Peru; Philippines; Portugal; Puerto Rico; Republic of Georgia; Sao Tome and Principe; Senegal; South Africa; Spain; Sri Lanka; St Helena; St Kitts Nevis; Switzerland; Taiwan; Uruguay; USA; USSR; Venezuela; Yugoslavia Acacia; Acacia baileyana; Acalypha; Casuarina; Citrus; fruit trees; orchards; ornamental plants; pigeon peas; roses; Tamarix
Rodolia fumida Predator Adults; Arthropods|Nymphs Hawaii Citrus
Rodolia iceryae Predator Adults; Eggs; Arthropods|Nymphs USA Citrus
Rodolia koebelei Predator Adults; Eggs; Arthropods|Nymphs Hawaii; USA Citrus
Rodolia pumila Predator Adults; Arthropods|Nymphs Hawaii Citrus
Rodolia rufipilosa Predator Adults; Arthropods|Nymphs USSR
Stathmopoda melanochra Predator Adults; Arthropods|Nymphs
Syneura cocciphila USSR

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Most of the recorded distributions of the natural enemies of I. purchasi are species introduced from other geographical areas for its control. The origin of I. purchasi is generally considered to be Australia, and other natural enemies are likely to occur in its natural habitat.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic Factors)

The dispersal stage of the giant mealybugs is the first-instar crawler stage (G Watson, [address available from CABI], personal communication, 2004); these are often dispersed passively in the wind, and have been recorded being taken by the wind to an altitude of 6 metres and a distance of 3.5 kilometres (Hill, 1980).

Vector Transmission

The crawlers may also be carried passively by animals and people that come into contact with the host plant.

Agricultural Practices

Harvesting infested plant material, e.g. fruit, aids dispersal by scattering the crawlers into the air, where the wind may carry them away. Prunings of infested plants, and the clothing, tools and vehicles of agricultural workers, can become contaminated with the crawlers and so aid in their dispersal.

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Bark arthropods/larvae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx arthropods/adults; arthropods/eggs; arthropods/larvae; arthropods/nymphs; arthropods/pupae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Fruits (inc. pods) arthropods/adults; arthropods/eggs; arthropods/larvae; arthropods/nymphs; arthropods/pupae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Leaves arthropods/adults; arthropods/eggs; arthropods/larvae; arthropods/nymphs; arthropods/pupae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Seedlings/Micropropagated plants arthropods/adults; arthropods/eggs; arthropods/larvae; arthropods/nymphs; arthropods/pupae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches arthropods/adults; arthropods/eggs; arthropods/larvae; arthropods/nymphs; arthropods/pupae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Bulbs/Tubers/Corms/Rhizomes
Growing medium accompanying plants
Roots
True seeds (inc. grain)
Wood

Wood Packaging

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Wood Packaging liable to carry the pest in trade/transportTimber typeUsed as packing
Solid wood packing material with bark No
Wood Packaging not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Loose wood packing material
Non-wood
Processed or treated wood
Solid wood packing material without bark

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Animal/plant collections Negative
Animal/plant products Negative
Biodiversity (generally) Negative
Crop production Negative
Environment (generally) None
Fisheries / aquaculture None
Forestry production Negative
Human health None
Livestock production None
Native fauna None
Native flora None
Rare/protected species Negative
Tourism None
Trade/international relations None
Transport/travel None

Impact

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Damage to the plant by I. purchasi is mostly caused by sap depletion; the shoots dry up and die, and defoliation occurs. In addition, the copious quantities of honeydew produced by the scales coat the leaves, blocking the stomata and impeding gas exchange. Such fouling frequently results in the growth of sooty moulds over the leaf surfaces, which blocks light from the mesophyll, so reducing photosynthesis.

I. purchasi is a particular pest of citrus, Acacia spp., Casuarina spp. and Pittosporum spp., but it can damage many types of fruit and forest trees, and ornamental shrubs and trees. After its introduction into California, USA, in the late nineteenth century, it was recorded devastating citrus orchards, killing even large trees. By 1887, the problem on citrus had increased to such serious proportions that the entire citrus industry of California was threatened with destruction (Bartlett, 1978). Serious damage to citrus orchards by I. purchasi was also recorded in many other countries when the cottony cushion scale first arrived (Williams and Watson, 1990), but with successful biological control this insect has become relatively unimportant in fruit orchards today.

In Anhui, China, I. purchasi is one of the most important pests of pomegranates (Punica granatum) (Wang et al., 2002), and in Zhejiang, China, the cottony cushion scale is the main pest damaging Liquidambar formosana (Formosan-gum) (Hua et al., 1999). In Israel, the cottony cushion scale was a serious pest in the northern part of the country until biological control became established, which reduced it to minor pest status (Ben-Dov, 1995).

Impact: Biodiversity

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The relatively recent establishment of I. purchasi in the Galapagos Islands (Peck et al., 1998) has caused concern because the pest has attacked a wide range of plants, including some of the endemic flora, and could endanger the native flora and the fauna dependant on it (Roque-Albelo, 2003). A biological control programme is currently underway (Causton, 2003).

Detection and Inspection

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I. purchasi is usually found along major veins on the lower surfaces of the leaves, and on the stems of host plants. It congregates in large masses and is very conspicuous. Long-established infestations are often surrounded by sooty mould growth, and may be attended by ants.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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I. purchasi is most similar to the Seychelles scale, Icerya seychellarum, but differs by having granular white wax covering the body, whereas I. seychellarum has tufts of yellow wax along the dorsum and around the margins; and in lacking conspicuous black body hairs. In addition, the ovisac of I. purchasi is large and fluted, whereas that of I. seychellarum is smaller, and fluffy rather than fluted. I. seychellarum does not congregate in masses.

Slide-mounted specimens of I. purchasi can be distinguished from the other common species of Icerya by the presence of two pairs of abdominal spiracles, three cicatrices and black body hairs.

Prevention and Control

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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.

Chemical Control

All life stages of I. purchasi are covered with wax, which reduces the effectiveness of most chemical insecticides. In addition, the use of insecticides prevents regulation by natural enemies, which has proved to be highly successful with this species. In the Spanish citrus industry, it is important to only use pesticides when absolutely necessary to ensure that the biological control agents of the citrus pests are not significantly injured; side-effect testing of pesticides on the control agents has been routinely carried out in Spain for many years (Jacas Miret and Garcia Mari, 2001).

The insect growth regulator pyriproxyfen has been found to be as effective in controlling I. purchasi (Gokkes et al., 1989). Good control was achieved when applied alone or with 0.5% mineral oil (Peleg, 1989). Another growth regulator, buprofezin, gave 100% mortality of crawlers and 31% decreased egg hatch when the adults were sprayed with it (Mendel et al., 1991).

In Italy, trials on the effect of azadirachtin A (extracted from neem) on the development and fecundity of Rodolia cardinalis indicated that use of this organic insecticide can adversely affect biological control of the cottony cushion scale (Heimbach, 2002).

Biological Control

The regulation of I. purchasi by natural enemies is one of the classic success stories in biological control. When I. purchasi established in California, USA in 1868/1869, it was apparent that it could be a major impediment to citrus production. In 1888, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) imported various natural enemies from Australia, including the vedalia beetle, Rodolia cardinalis. Vedalia immediately proved highly effective in controlling I. purchasi and has subsequently been distributed to about 57 countries (Bartlett, 1978). It has continued to be effective in controlling I. purchasi, except in areas where the indiscriminate use of insecticides has killed the predator. In areas with extreme winters, which kill off the vedalia populations, periodic re-introduction has been necessary.

I. purchasi living on plants such as Spartium junceum, which contain alkaloids, are not completely controlled by R. cardinalis. Caltagirone and Doutt (1989) suggested that these plants (with residual populations of the scale) provide permanent sources of vedalia that will disperse into new infestations of scale on citrus and bring them under control.

A detailed history of the introduction of the vedalia beetle into California, USA, is given by Caltagirone and Doutt (1989).

The parasitoid Cryptochaetum iceryae has also proved to be effective in regulating I. purchasi populations. Adult C. iceryae are sensitive to heat and aridity and are most effective in regulating cottony cushion scale populations in cooler coastal areas. In more arid and hot inland areas, vedalia beetles are more effective. Studies in inland California (Quezada and DeBach, 1973) have shown that the two natural enemies seasonally share their prey in different proportions and are fairly even in their competitive abilities, Rodolia usually taking more prey during summer and autumn and Cryptochaetum taking more during winter and early spring. Competition between the two natural enemies did not increase host survival and these studies provide strong support for the importation of multiple natural enemies.

Various other natural enemies have been tried against I. purchasi, but with little success.

Careful management is necessary when using pesticides against other pests if biological control of I. purchasi is in operation, because damage to the populations of biocontrol agent can cause an outbreak of I. purchasi, as recorded in South Africa by Hattingh and Tate (1995).

Ants attending I. purchasi infestations to collect the sugary honeydew excreted (Getu, 1996), may defend the scales from attack by their natural enemies, so making the pest problem worse. If large numbers of ants attend a heavy infestation of the scale, it may be worthwhile controlling the ants to help the natural enemies bring the scale population under control quickly.

References

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Foldi I, 2003. Les cochemilles de Corse (Hemiptera, Coccoidea). Bulletin de la Société Entomologique de France, 108(2):147-156.

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Guteta Negasu, Nigussie Banchiamlak, Mokonen Mihirat, 2016. Composition, distribution and economic importance of insect pests of prioritized aromatic plants in some growing of Ethiopia. International Journal of Advanced Biological and Biomedical Research, 4(1), 1-9. http://ijabbr.com/article_19133_85f8504989297cb65dd635df30a3b874.pdf

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Jacas Miret JA; Garcia Mari F, 2001. Side-effects of pesticides on selected natural enemies occurring in citrus in Spain. In: Vogt H, Vinuela E, eds. IOBC-WPRS Working Group for Pesticides and Beneficial Organisms. Proceedings of a Meeting (18-20 October, 2000), Castello de la Plana, Spain: Bulletin OILB SROP, 24(4):103-112.

Kollár J; Bakay L; Pástor M, 2016. First record of the cottony cushion scale Icerya purchasi (Hemiptera, Monophlebidae) in Slovakia - short communication. Plant Protection Science, 52(3):217-219. http://www.agriculturejournals.cz/publicFiles/187985.pdf

Konar A, 1998. Seasonal incidence of mealybug species on mandarin orange in Darjeeling, West Bengal. Horticultural Journal, 11(2):105-110.

Kotikal, Y. K., Ananda, N., Balikai, R. A., 2011. Seasonal incidence of major sucking pests of pomegranate and their relation with weather parameters in India. Acta Horticulturae, (No.890), 589-596. http://www.actahort.org/books/890/890_83.htm

Malumphy C, 2013. Exotic scale insects (Hemiptera: Coccoidea) causing severe damage to ornamental pittosporum in London. British Journal of Entomology and Natural History, 26(2):89-90. http://www.benhs.org.uk

Matile-Ferrero D; Legrand J; Riffet X, 1999. Une surprenante infestation de la cochenille australienne Icerya purchasi Maskell en plein Paris [Hemiptera, Margarodidae]. Revue Française d’Entomologie (N.S.), 21(4):175-178.

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Mendel Z; Blumberg D; Ishaaya I, 1991. Effect of buprofezin on Icerya purchasi and Planococcus citri. Phytoparasitica, 19(2):103-112

Meshram PB; Vijayaraghavan A, 2004. A new report of Icerya purchasi Maskell (Hemiptera: Margarodidae) as a pest of Plumbago zeylanica Linn. Indian Forester, 130(5):583-584.

Morales CF, 1991. Margarodidae (Insecta: Hemiptera). Fauna of New Zealand, No. 21:123 pp.

Papadopoulou S; Chryssohoides C, 2012. Icerya purchasi (Homoptera: Margarodidae) on Rosmarinus officinalis (Lamiaceae), a new host plant record for Greece. Bulletin OEPP/EPPO Bulletin, 42(1):148-149. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2338

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Roque-Albelo L, 2003. Population decline of Galapagos endemic Lepidoptera on Volcan Alcedo (Isabela Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador): an effect of the introduction of the cottony cushion scale? Bulletin de l’Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique, Entomologie, 73:177-180.

Rubiales, D., Fernández-Aparicio, M., 2009. First report of cottony-cushion scale (Icerya purchasi) on red berried mistletoe (Viscum cruciatum). Entomological Research, 39(1), 95-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-5967.2009.00201.x

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Șİșman, S., Ülgentürk, S., 2010. Scale insects species (Hemiptera: Coccoidea) in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Turkish Journal of Zoology, 34(2), 219-224. http://journals.tubitak.gov.tr/zoology/

Szita, É., Fetykó, K. G., Benedicty, Z. K., Kozár, F., Partsinevelos, G., Milonas, P., Kaydan, M. B., 2017. Data on the scale insect (Hemiptera: Coccomorpha) fauna of Greece, with description of two new species. Zootaxa, 4329(5), 463-476. doi: 10.11646/zootaxa.4329.5.4

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Distribution References

Al-Jahdhami A A, Al-Rashdi S, Al-Jahdhami M, 2020. Two new records of the genus Icerya signoret, 1875 (Hemiptera, coccomorpha, monophlebidae) from Oman. Journal of Insect Biodiversity and Systematics. 7 (1), 59-65. https://jibs.modares.ac.ir/article-36-46412-en.pdf

Almeida L F V, Peronti A L B G, Martinelli N M, Wolff V R S, 2018. A survey of scale insects (Hemiptera: Coccoidea) in citrus orchards in São Paulo, Brazil. Florida Entomologist. 101 (3), 353-363. DOI:10.1653/024.101.0324

Amitava Konar, 1998. Seasonal incidence of mealybug species on mandarin orange in Darjeeling, West Bengal. Horticultural Journal. 11 (2), 105-110.

APPPC, 1987. Insect pests of economic significance affecting major crops of the countries in Asia and the Pacific region. In: Technical Document No. 135, Bangkok, Thailand: Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific region (RAPA).

Badr S A, 2014. Insects and non insects species associated with pine needle trees in Alexandria Egypt. Journal of Entomology. 11 (1), 49-55. http://scialert.net/qredirect.php?doi=je.2014.49.55&linkid=pdf

Basheer A M, Asslan L, Saleh A, Diab N, Mohamed E, 2016. Scale insect species (Hemiptera: Coccoidea) in Syria. Bulletin OEPP/EPPO Bulletin. 46 (2), 305-307. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2338

BEARDSLEY jr J W, 1966. Insects of Micronesia. Homoptera: Coccoidea. Insects of Micronesia. 6 (7), 3+] 377-562 pp.

Bennett F D, Alam M M, 1985. An annotated check-list of the insects and allied terrestrial arthropods of Barbados. Bridgetown, Barbados: Caribbean Agricultural Research & Development Institute. vi + 81 pp.

Borges I, Soares A O, Hemptinne J L, 2006. Abundance and spatial distribution of aphids and scales select for different life histories in their ladybird beetle predators. Journal of Applied Entomology. 130 (6/7), 356-359. DOI:10.1111/j.1439-0418.2006.01071.x

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EPPO, 2022. EPPO Global database. In: EPPO Global database, Paris, France: EPPO. 1 pp. https://gd.eppo.int/

Fan M Z, Guo C, Xiao H L, Hu Y, 1988. Pathogenicity of Metarhizium anisopliae and its use in forest pest control. Chinese Journal of Biological Control. 4 (1), 29-32.

Foldi I, 2003. (Les cochemilles de Corse (Hemiptera, Coccoidea)). In: Bulletin de la Société Entomologique de France, 108 (2) 147-156.

Getu E, 1996. Cottony cushion scale infestation on acacia trees. IAR Newsletter of Agricultural Research. 11 (2), 11.

Gill RJ, 1993. The scale insects of California. Part 2. The minor families (Homoptera: Coccoidea). In: Technical Series in Agricultural Biosystematics and Plant Pathology, Sacramento, California, USA: California Department of Food and Agriculture. 79-80.

Guteta Negasu, Nigussie Banchiamlak, Mokonen Mihirat, 2016. Composition, distribution and economic importance of insect pests of prioritized aromatic plants in some growing of Ethiopia. International Journal of Advanced Biological and Biomedical Research. 4 (1), 1-9. http://ijabbr.com/article_19133_85f8504989297cb65dd635df30a3b874.pdf

Hua FengMing, Ni LiangCai, Jin MinXin, 1999. Pesticide effectiveness test of several insecticides to control Icerya purchasi endangering Liquidambar formosana. Journal of Zhejiang Forestry Science and Technology. 19 (6), 46-47, 50.

Șİșman S, Ülgentürk S, 2010. Scale insects species (Hemiptera: Coccoidea) in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Turkish Journal of Zoology. 34 (2), 219-224. http://journals.tubitak.gov.tr/zoology/

Kollár J, Bakay L, Pástor M, 2016. First record of the cottony cushion scale Icerya purchasi (Hemiptera, Monophlebidae) in Slovakia - short communication. Plant Protection Science. 52 (3), 217-219. http://www.agriculturejournals.cz/publicFiles/187985.pdf

Kotikal Y K, Ananda N, Balikai R A, 2011. Seasonal incidence of major sucking pests of pomegranate and their relation with weather parameters in India. Acta Horticulturae. 589-596. http://www.actahort.org/books/890/890_83.htm

Malumphy C, 2013. Exotic scale insects (Hemiptera: Coccoidea) causing severe damage to ornamental pittosporum in London. British Journal of Entomology and Natural History. 26 (2), 89-90. http://www.benhs.org.uk

Matile-Ferrero D, Legrand J, Riffet X, 1999. A remarkable infestation of the cottony cushion scale Icerya purchasi Maskell in central Paris (France) (Hemiptera, Margarodidae). (Une surprenante infestation de la cochenille Australienne Icerya purchasi Maskell en plein Paris [Hemiptera, Margarodidae].). Revue Française d'Entomologie. 21 (4), 175-178.

Meshram P B, Vijayaraghavan A, 2004. A new report of Icerya purchasi Maskell (Hemiptera: Margarodidae) as a pest of Plumbago zeylanica Linn. Indian Forester. 130 (5), 583-584.

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NHM, 1977. Specimen record from the collection in the Natural History Museum (London, UK)., London, UK: Natural History Museum (London).

NHM, 1979. Specimen record from the collection in the Natural History Museum (London, UK)., London, UK: Natural History Museum (London).

NHM, 1980. Specimen record from the collection in the Natural History Museum (London, UK)., London, UK: Natural History Museum (London).

NHM, 1981. Specimen record from the collection in the Natural History Museum (London, UK)., London, UK: Natural History Museum (London).

NHM, 1985. Specimen record from the collection in the Natural History Museum (London, UK)., London, UK: Natural History Museum (London).

NHM, 1988. Specimen record from the collection in the Natural History Museum (London, UK)., London, UK: Natural History Museum (London).

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Papadopoulou S, Chryssohoides C, 2012. Icerya purchasi (Homoptera: Margarodidae) on Rosmarinus officinalis (Lamiaceae), a new host plant record for Greece. Bulletin OEPP/EPPO Bulletin. 42 (1), 148-149. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2338 DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2338.2012.02535.x

Peck S B, Heraty J, Landry B, Sinclair B J, 1998. Introduced insect fauna of an oceanic archipelago: the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. American Entomologist. 44 (4), 218-236.

Rao V P, 1951. Iceryine scale insects recorded from the Orient. Indian Journal of Entomology. 39-66, 127-158.

Rocca M, Greco N M, Mareggiani G S, 2009. Abundance of Icerya purchasi (Hemiptera: Margarodidae) and its parasitoid Cryptochaetum iceryae (Diptera: Cryptochaetidae) in Argentina blueberry crops. Environmental Entomology. 38 (2), 380-386. DOI:10.1603/022.038.0210

Rubiales D, Fernández-Aparicio M, 2009. First report of cottony-cushion scale (Icerya purchasi) on red berried mistletoe (Viscum cruciatum). Entomological Research. 39 (1), 95-96. DOI:10.1111/j.1748-5967.2009.00201.x

Russo A, Longo S, Matteo G, 2003. Cocciniglie. In: Ambienti naturali e antitropici di Sicilia, Italy: Università di Catania. http://www.unict.it/dipartimenti/biologia_animale/webnatur/insetti/omotteri/coccoidea.htm

Schönfeld U, 2015. Coccoidea species in Brandenburg. (Cocciden-arten in Brandenburg.). Journal für Kulturpflanzen. 67 (10), 337-341. http://www.journal-kulturpflanzen.de

Seebens H, Blackburn T M, Dyer E E, Genovesi P, Hulme P E, Jeschke J M, Pagad S, Pyšek P, Winter M, Arianoutsou M, Bacher S, Blasius B, Brundu G, Capinha C, Celesti-Grapow L, Dawson W, Dullinger S, Fuentes N, Jäger H, Kartesz J, Kenis M, Kreft H, Kühn I, Lenzner B, Liebhold A, Mosena A (et al), 2017. No saturation in the accumulation of alien species worldwide. Nature Communications. 8 (2), 14435. http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14435

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