Nipaecoccus nipae (spiked mealybug)
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- Risk of Introduction
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Growth Stages
- List of Symptoms/Signs
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Detection and Inspection
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Nipaecoccus nipae (Maskell, 1893)
Preferred Common Name
- spiked mealybug
Other Scientific Names
- Ceroputo nipae (Maskell), Lindinger, 1904
- Dactylopius dubia Maxwell-Lefroy, 1903
- Dactylopius nipae Maskell, 1893
- Dactylopius pseudonipae Cockerell, 1897
- Nipaecoccus pseudonipae (Cockerell), Beardsley, 1960
- Pseudococcus magnoliae Hambleton, 1935
- Pseudococcus nipae (Maskell), Cockerell, 1902
- Pseudococcus pseudonipae (Cockerell), Fernald, 1903
- Ripersia nipae (Maskell), Gómez-Menor Ortega
- Ripersia serrata Tinsley, 1900
- Trechocorys nipae (Maskell), Kirkaldy, 1904
International Common Names
- English: avocado mealybug; buff coconut mealybug; coconut mealybug; nipa mealybug; sugarapple mealybug
- Spanish: chinche harinosa del cocotero; piojo harinoso (Mexico)
- French: cochenille du cocotier
Local Common Names
- Netherlands: Palmwolluis
- South Africa: palm wolluis
- NIPANI (Nipaecoccus nipae)
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Uniramia
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Hemiptera
- Suborder: Sternorrhyncha
- Unknown: Coccoidea
- Family: Pseudococcidae
- Genus: Nipaecoccus
- Species: Nipaecoccus nipae
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page There are apparently two forms of Nipaecoccus nipae, one with white wax and the other with yellow wax, which have often been named N. nipae and N. pseudonipae, respectively (Zimmerman, 1948; Williams and Granara de Willink, 1992). Beardsley (1960) suggested morphological differences between the adult males of the two forms but no morphological characters have been found to distinguish the adult females. In life, the yellow and white forms are often found living together and for the purposes of this work they are regarded as the same species.
DescriptionTop of page In life, adult female N. nipae are 3.5 mm long, flattish and oval. They are salmon-pink to dark-red in colour, with distinctive dorsal and marginal white or yellow wax cones which create a satellite appearance. In most species of mealybug, the males, if present, are less conspicuous that the females, but male N. nipae are more numerous than females. Male N. nipae produce small (about 2 mm long) waxy filamentous cocoons or tests on the foliage, which are often present in large numbers. The male tests of N. nipae are more common and more conspicuous than those of many other mealybug species.
Authoritative identification of N. nipae involves detailed microscopic examination of slide-mounted, teneral, adult females by a competent taxonomist. For detailed morphological descriptions of the adult female, illustrations and keys to the species of Nipaecoccus that occur in North America see Ferris (1950) and McKenzie (1967), for those in Central and South America see Williams and Granara de Willink (1992) and for those in Australia see Williams (1985). Beardsley (1960) has described the morphology of the adult male.
DistributionTop of page N. nipae is found in Europe, Asia, Africa, North, Central and South America and Oceania (Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005).
The collection at The Natural History Museum, London, UK contains numerous samples of Nipaecoccus from southern Asia, particularly India; all of them are N. viridis and not N. nipae. On the basis of the coverage by Williams (2004), and the absence of supporting specimens, the records of N. nipae from southern Asia are regarded as of questionable accuracy and are not included in the recent distribution map by CABI/EPPO (2005).
A tentative record for Australia (Williams, 1985), has not been included in CABI/EPPO (2005).
In northern and central Europe, including the UK, N. nipae is found in glasshouses, particularly in botanical gardens, and does not appear to occur in the open. It is therefore recorded as occasionally present in this region. In South Africa, N. nipae is mostly found in glasshouses, but is occasionally found in the open around Durban (CABI/EPPO, 2005).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Bangladesh||Absent, unreliable record||APPPC, 1987; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|China||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Georgia (Republic of)||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|India||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Bihar||Absent, unreliable record||CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|-Kerala||Present||Josephrajkumar et al., 2012|
|-Tamil Nadu||Absent, unreliable record||CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|-West Bengal||Absent, unreliable record||CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Korea, Republic of||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Pakistan||Absent, unreliable record||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Philippines||Present||Invasive||Tokihiro, 2006; Caasi-Lit et al., 2012|
|Thailand||Absent, unreliable record||Waterhouse, 1993; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Turkey||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Vietnam||Absent, unreliable record||Waterhouse, 1993; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Algeria||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|South Africa||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|-Canary Islands||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Bermuda||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Mexico||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2005; Arriola et al., 2016; Villatoro-Moreno et al., 2016|
|-California||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|-Florida||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|-Hawaii||Widespread||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|-Louisiana||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
Central America and Caribbean
|Antigua and Barbuda||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Barbados||Present||CIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Belize||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|British Virgin Islands||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Cayman Islands||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Costa Rica||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Cuba||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Dominica||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Dominican Republic||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|El Salvador||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Grenada||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Guadeloupe||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Guatemala||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Jamaica||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Nicaragua||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Panama||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Puerto Rico||Present||CIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Saint Lucia||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Widespread||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|United States Virgin Islands||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Argentina||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|-Parana||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|-Rio de Janeiro||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|-Sao Paulo||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Colombia||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Ecuador||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Guyana||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Peru||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Suriname||Present||CIE, 1966; Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Venezuela||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Austria||Present, few occurrences||CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Belgium||Present, few occurrences||CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Czechoslovakia (former)||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|France||Present, few occurrences||CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Hungary||Present, few occurrences||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Italy||Present, few occurrences||CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Poland||Present, few occurrences||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Portugal||Present, few occurrences||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Russian Federation||Present, few occurrences||CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|-Central Russia||Present, few occurrences||CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|-Russia (Europe)||Present, few occurrences||Ben-Dov, 1994|
|Spain||Present||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|UK||Present, few occurrences||Ben-Dov, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2005|
|Fiji||Present||Hodgson and <L>agowska, 2011|
|Micronesia, Federated states of||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2005|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page Immature and adult female N. nipae are readily carried on plants and plant produce and may be injurious when introduced to new geographical areas where they have no natural enemies. Injudicious chemical spraying techniques may reduce the natural enemies of N. nipae allowing them to proliferate.
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page N. nipae is polyphagous and attacks 80 genera of plants belonging to 43 families (Ben-Dov, 1994). It is recorded feeding on a wide range of economically important plants, mostly fruit crops and ornamentals, including avocados, bananas, citrus, cocoa, coconuts, custard apples (Annona reticulata), edible figs, guavas, mangoes, oil palm, orchids, pawpaws, pineapples, seaside grapes and soursop (Annona muricata). N. nipae seems to prefer palms, such as species of Areca, Cocos, Kentia, Kentiopsis and Sabal. In temperate regions in Europe and North America, N. nipae often attacks ornamental palms grown under glass.
Growth StagesTop of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Post-harvest, Vegetative growing stage
SymptomsTop of page In most cases, the main damage caused by N. nipae is the depletion of plant sap, yellowing of the foliage, reduced vigour of the host, and the deposition on the foliage and fruit of honeydew which serves as a medium for the growth of black sooty moulds. The covering of sooty moulds reduces the photosynthetic area.
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Fruit / external feeding|
|Fruit / honeydew or sooty mould|
|Growing point / external feeding|
|Leaves / abnormal colours|
|Leaves / honeydew or sooty mould|
|Leaves / honeydew or sooty mould|
|Stems / external feeding|
Biology and EcologyTop of page N. nipae is sexually reproductive but its biology and ecology are poorly known.
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Cryptolaemus montrouzieri||Predator||Adults/Nymphs||Bermuda; Puerto Rico; St Kitts Nevis||Annona; Arecaceae; avocados; Cocos nucifera; Erythrina; guavas|
|Hyperaspis jucunda||Predator||Adults/Nymphs||St Kitts Nevis||Annona; avocados; Cocos nucifera|
|Pseudaphycus utilis||Parasite||Nymphs||Bermuda; Hawaii; Puerto Rico; St Kitts Nevis||Annona; Arecaceae; avocados; Cocos nucifera; Erythrina; guavas|
|Scymnus binaevatus||Predator||Adults/Nymphs||Bermuda||Annona; Arecaceae; avocados; guavas|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page Bartlett (1978) has given an account of the introduced parasites and predators used to control N. nipae in Hawaii. The parasitoid Pseudaphycus utilis is one of the most important natural enemies of N. nipae. Within about a year of the introduction of P. utilis to Hawaii, N. nipae had almost disappeared from Oahu and was soon almost eradicated from the Hawaiian Islands (Bartlett, 1978).
ImpactTop of page N. nipae is generally of little economic importance, but it has become a pest of avocados and guavas in Hawaii, Bermuda and Puerto Rico (see Ben-Dov, 1994 for further references). Ant-attended infestations of N. nipae have been recorded causing damage to coconut plantations in Guyana, together with the coconut scale Aspidiotus destructor (Raj, 1977). N. nipae is also a pest of ornamental palms. The damage caused by N. nipae may result in ornamental plants, fruit, cut flowers and foliage losing their market value.
Detection and InspectionTop of page Heavy infestations of N. nipae are conspicuous because of the presence of distinct waxy adult females, numerous waxy male tests and sooty mould growing on the honeydew. They usually occur on the undersides of the foliage.
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page N. nipae should be distinguished from N. aurilanatus, a pest usually found on Araucariaceae, which has spread to many tropical and subtropical regions. N. aurilanatus is easily distinguished because it has numerous ventral multilocular pores on all abdominal segments, no dorsal cephalic cluster of conical setae above the base of each antenna, and is a pest of conifers.
N. nipae, in contrast, has fewer ventral multilocular pores and they are confined to the last four abdominal segments. It also has a distinct dorsal cephalic cluster of conical setae above the base of each antenna and is rarely, if ever, found on a coniferous host.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.Chemical Control
In Hawaii, the efficacy of a series of methods were evaluated as post-harvest treatments to eliminate N. nipae, along with other mealybugs, scale insects and aphids, from tropical cut flowers and foliage before shipment. A series of insecticidal dips were tested and the most effective was found to be a combination dip for at least 5 minutes in an insecticidal soap composed of potassium salts of fatty acids with fluvalinate (Hansen et al., 1992a). Vapour heat treatment was found to kill mealybug adults and nymphs after 1 hour at 46.6°C; and nymphs were killed after 2 hours at 45.2°C (Hansen et al., 1992b). Hydrogen cyanide fumigation treatment was found to kill N. nipae nymphs on palms (Hansen et al., 1991).
Infestations of N. nipae were eliminated in coconut plantations by chemically controlling Azteca ants which maintained and protected the mealybug colonies (Raj, 1977).
Bartlett (1978) records successful biological control of N. nipae in Hawaii by Pseudaphycus utilis. In Puerto Rico some improvement was reported following the introduction of Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, but good control was later obtained with the establishment of P. utilis (Bartlett, 1978).
ReferencesTop of page
APPPC, 1987. Insect pests of economic significance affecting major crops of the countries in Asia and the Pacific region. Technical Document No. 135. Bangkok, Thailand: Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific region (RAPA).
Arriola Padilla VJ, Estrada Martínez E, Romero Nápoles J, González Hernández H, Pérez Miranda R, 2016. Scale insects (Hemiptera: Coccomorpha) on ornamental plants in greenhouses from the central zone of the Morelos state, Mexico. (Insectos escama (Hemiptera: Coccomorpha) en plantas ornamentales en viveros de la zona centro del estado de Morelos, México.) Interciencia, 41(8):552-560. http://www.interciencia.org/v41_08/indexe.html
Bartlett BR, 1978. Pseudococcidae. In: Clausen CP, ed. Introduced Parasites and Predators of Arthropod Pests and Weeds: a World Review. Agriculture Handbook No. 480, 137-170.
Beardsley JW, 1960. A preliminary study of the males of some Hawaiian mealybugs (Homoptera: Pseudococcidae). Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society, 17:199-243.
Ben-Dov Y, 1994. A systematic catalogue of the mealybugs of the world (Insecta: Homoptera: Coccoidea: Pseudococcidae and Putoidae) with data on geographical distribution, host plants, biology and economic importance. Andover, UK; Intercept Limited, 686 pp.
Caasi-Lit MT, Lit IL Jr, Larona AR, 2012. Expansion of local geographic and host ranges of Nipaecoccus nipae (Maskell) (Pseudococcidae, Hemiptera) in the Philippines with new records of predators and attending ants. Philippine Journal of Crop Science, 37(1):47-56.
Hansen JD, Hara AH, Chan HT Jr, Tenbrink VL, 1991. Efficacy of hydrogen cyanide fumigation as a treatment for pests of Hawaiian cut flowers and foliage after harvest. Journal of Economic Entomology, 84(2):532-536
Hodgson CJ, Lagowska B, 2011. New scale insect (Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha: Coccoidea) records from Fiji: three new species, records of several new invasive species and an updated checklist of Coccoidea. Zootaxa, 2766:29. http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/
Josephrajkumar A, Rajan P, Chandrika Mohan, Thomas RJ, 2012. New distributional record of buff coconut mealybug (Nipaecoccus nipae) in Kerala, India. Phytoparasitica, 40(5):533-535. http://www.springerlink.com/content/d4p41486h4920373/
Tokihiro G, 2006. List of mealybugs (Homoptera: Pseudococcidae) intercepted at Japanese plant quarantine mainly from areas without a record of distribution. Research Bulletin of the Plant Protection Service, Japan, No.42:59-61. http://www.pps.go.jp/
Villatoro-Moreno, H., Cisneros, J., Gómez, J., Infante, F., Castillo, A., 2016. Mealybugs (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) associated with rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum L.) in Chiapas, Mexico., Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 89(4):289-296 http://www.bioone.org/loi/kent
Waterhouse DF, 1993. The Major Arthropod Pests and Weeds of Agriculture in Southeast Asia. ACIAR Monograph No. 21. Canberra, Australia: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, 141 pp.
Williams DJ, 2004. Mealybugs of Southern Asia. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Southdene SDN, 442-445.
Distribution MapsTop of page
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