Insignorthezia insignis (greenhouse orthezia)
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- Risk of Introduction
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants 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
- Insignorthezia insignis (Browne)
Preferred Common Name
- greenhouse orthezia
Other Scientific Names
- Orthezia costis Ghesquière, 1933
- Orthezia insignis Browne
- Orthezia insignis Douglas
- Orthezia nacrea Buckton, 1894
International Common Names
- English: Jacaranda bug; Lantana bug
- Spanish: cochinilla blanca menor de los citricos (Colombia)
Local Common Names
- Colombia: cochenilla blanca menor de los citricos
- East Africa: Lantana blight
- Germany: Gewaechshaus-Roehrenschildlaus
- South Africa: lantana dopluis
- Spain: chinche harinosa del croto; escama blanca del croto
- UK/England and Wales: Croton bug; glasshouse Orthezia; Kew bug
- USA/California: marsupial coccid
- USA/Hawaii: Maui blight
- ORTHIN (Orthezia insignis)
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Uniramia
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Hemiptera
- Suborder: Sternorrhyncha
- Unknown: Coccoidea
- Family: Ortheziidae
- Genus: Orthezia
- Species: Insignorthezia insignis
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
Morrison (1952) pointed out that Orthezia insignis had been ascribed to the authorship of Douglas, 1887 incorrectly (Morrison, 1925), and that Lindinger (1935) had first recognized that the published notes of Browne (1887) constituted a description that pre-dated that by Douglas. Authorship of the name has since been attributed to Browne. Kozár (2004) included this species in the newly described genus Insignorthezia and the current preferred name for the pest is Insignorthezia insignis.
DescriptionTop of page
Ezzat (1956) and Green (1922) described I. insignis (as Orthezia insignis) in detail. Body of adult female is about 1.5 mm long and 1.3 mm wide (excluding the ovisac), brownish olive green; dorsum mostly bare of wax except for two narrow logitudinal rows of 12 small white wax processes, these rows situated on either side of the mid-line; the dorsal wax processes fairly short, the longest and most curled occurring towards the posterior end. Venter with white waxy areas around mouthparts and limb bases, and the white ovisac of sculpted wax arising from just posterior of the hind leg coxae and from a submarginal belt around the abdomen. Ovisac 1.5 - 3.5 mm long, of brittle wax plates, nearly parallel-sided, curving slightly upwards posteriorly, ending in a dorsal opening. Unlike most Coccoidea, I. insignis carries the ovisac attached to the body, rather than attaching it to the substrate. Antennae are 8-segmented, brownish, about 0.9 mm long, terminal segment longest. Eyes each situated on a conical projection just posterior to each antenna base.
Immature females lack any development of the ovisac but otherwise resemble smaller versions of the adult; first instar with body 0.3 mm long, antennae each 6-segmented, lacking ventral waxy areas and without bare area between dorsal rows of wax plates; second instar similar but larger; third instar larger again, with 7-segmented antennae and ventral waxy areas present.
Males are seldom produced (Green (1922) observed them produced at approximately four-year intervals in Sri Lanka). Adult male with body (excluding terminal wax filaments) 2.0 mm long; the single pair of wings appears greyish white with powdery wax; a pair of halteres present; antennae each 9-segmented, significantly longer than body, covered with short hairs; a pair of compound eyes present, each associated with a single ocellus; mouthparts absent; legs long and slender; abdomen terminates in a caudal tuft of white wax filaments arising from the antepenultimate segment.
DistributionTop of page
The distribution map includes records based on specimens of I. insignis from the collection in the Natural History Museum (London, UK): dates of collection, where known, are noted in the List of countries (NHM, various dates).
The records for Peru in CIE (1957) and in the literature are doubtful (Beinagolea, 1971).
I. insignis has been eradicated from the UK (CP Malumphy, Central Science Laboratory, York, UK, personal communication, 1998).
I. insignis is native to the Neotropical region, probably to Guyana and neighbouring countries; elsewhere in the world it has been introduced. Ezzat (1956) provides a world map showing isotherms defining areas of the world where conditions exist in which he considered I. insignis could live. Areas with the average temperature over the whole year of 17.8 - 34° C can potentially support this insect outdoors; this includes the Americas from the USA to the northern half of Argentina, the southern half of Eurasia, Africa apart from the extreme southern tip, the indo-Pacific islands and Australia except its southern 25%. Towards the higher latitudes (and at higher altitudes) within this range, the insect is more likely to occur under glass, and outside these areas it could still establish in heated glasshouses.
A record of I. insignis in Japan (Ben Dov et al., 1998) published in previous versions of the Compendium is unreliable. Ben Dov et al. (1998) cites Morrison (1952) as the source of the record of I. insignis in Japan, but neither the original reference nor a specimen record is given in Morrison (1952). There is no record of I. insignis in Japan in Kawai (1980), Mito and Uesugi (2004), National Institute for Environmental Studies (2015) or the Global Invasive Species Database (ISSG, 2017).
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|
|China||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|-Karnataka||Present||Muniappan and Viraktamath, 1986; Hussain et al., 1996|
|-Tamil Nadu||Present||CIE, 1957; Muniappan and Viraktamath, 1986|
|-West Bengal||Present||NHM collection|
|Indonesia||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|Japan||Absent, unreliable record||MAFF, Japan, communication to CABI, 2017; Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|Malaysia||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Peninsular Malaysia||Present||CIE, 1957|
|Sri Lanka||Present||CIE, 1957|
|Cape Verde||Present||NHM collection|
|Congo Democratic Republic||Present||NHM collection|
|Malawi||Present||Booth et al., 1995|
|Morocco||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|Saint Helena||Present||Booth et al., 1995|
|Sao Tome and Principe||Present||CIE, 1957|
|Sierra Leone||Present||NHM collection|
|South Africa||Present||CIE, 1957|
|-Canary Islands||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|Canada||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|Mexico||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998; Arriola et al., 2016|
|-Connecticut||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|-Hawaii||Present||Booth et al., 1995|
|-Illinois||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|-Indiana||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|-Massachusetts||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|-Michigan||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|-New Jersey||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|-New York||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|-Ohio||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|-Pennsylvania||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|-Virginia||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|-Washington||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|-Wisconsin||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
Central America and Caribbean
|Antigua and Barbuda||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|Bahamas||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|British Virgin Islands||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|Cayman Islands||Present||NHM collection|
|Costa Rica||Present||CIE, 1957|
|Dominican Republic||Present||CIE, 1957|
|El Salvador||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|Guatemala||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|Haiti||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|Honduras||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|Panama||Present||NHM collection; Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|Puerto Rico||Present||CIE, 1957|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Present||NHM collection; Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Present||CIE, 1957|
|Brazil||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Minas Gerais||Present||CIE, 1957|
|-Parana||Present||Nakano et al., 1974|
|-Rio de Janeiro||Present||CIE, 1957|
|-Rio Grande do Sul||Present||CIE, 1957|
|-Sao Paulo||Present||CIE, 1957|
|Austria||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|Denmark||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|France||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|Germany||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|Hungary||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|Portugal||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|-Azores||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|Russian Federation||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|Switzerland||Present||Ben-Dov et al., 1998|
|New Caledonia||Present||Williams and Watson, 1990|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
I. insignis is not listed as a quarantine pest. Accidental introductions to new countries apparently occur on infested planting material. Global warming may alter or extend its potential range in tropical countries.
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
I. insignis is polyphagous, usually preferring woody hosts, occurring mainly on the shoots and twigs. Ben-Dov et al. (1998) list hosts from 34 plant families. It is most often found on trees and shrubs of the Verbenaceae (especially Lantana, Clerodendron and Duranta species), Solanaceae (especially Capsicum and Solanum), Acanthaceae, Compositae (especially Eupatorium and other ornamentals) and Rubiaceae (including Coffea). Green (1922) remarked that, while I. insignis damages numerous ornamental plants in Sri Lanka, it was not a pest on tea or coffee. Ezzat (1956) successfully reared I. insignis on sprouting potato tubers in Egypt, where he recorded the pest damaging a wide range of crops and utility plants such as sugarcane, Citrus, potatoes, tomatoes, chrysanthemums, shade trees such as Jacaranda, and windbreaks such as Casuarina.
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
|Bidens pilosa (blackjack)||Asteraceae||Unknown|
|Casuarina equisetifolia (casuarina)||Casuarinaceae||Other|
|Chromolaena odorata (Siam weed)||Asteraceae||Unknown|
|Clerodendrum (Fragrant clerodendron)||Lamiaceae||Other|
|Commidendrum robustum (Gumwood)||Asteraceae||Other|
|Galinsoga parviflora (gallant soldier)||Asteraceae||Unknown|
|Jacaranda mimosifolia (jacaranda)||Bignoniaceae||Main|
|Lantana camara (lantana)||Verbenaceae||Wild host|
|Malpighia glabra (acerola)||Malpighiaceae||Other|
|Olea europaea subsp. europaea (European olive)||Oleaceae||Other|
|Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane)||Poaceae||Other|
|Solanum lycopersicum (tomato)||Solanaceae||Other|
|Solanum melongena (aubergine)||Solanaceae||Other|
|Solanum tuberosum (potato)||Solanaceae||Other|
Growth StagesTop of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Vegetative growing stage
SymptomsTop of page
I. insignis extracts large quantities of sap, causing general host debilitation, but not death (Green, 1922). Build-up of sticky honeydew deposits occurs on nearby surfaces, which may attract attendant ants. Unsightly sooty moulds grow on the sugary deposits (Green, 1922), and badly fouled leaves may be dropped prematurely and the quality of fruits may be reduced. The older females are easy to see on young stems, especially when they walk about and the movement of the white ovisacs catches the light.
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Growing point / external feeding|
|Inflorescence / external feeding|
|Leaves / external feeding|
|Stems / external feeding|
|Whole plant / external feeding|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
Ezzat (1956) and Green (1922) provide biological information on I. insignis. There are three immature instars in the female and four in the male; reproduction is parthenogenetic (Epila, 1986). Males are produced very sporadically; Green (1922) observed them at about four-year intervals in Sri Lanka.
According to Ezzat's (1956) observations of specimens reared on sprouting potato tubers, adult females begin laying eggs when the ovisac has developed to a length of 1.5 mm. Depending on temperature, a female lays up to two eggs per day and a total of 58-95 eggs in her life, which may be 52 - 190 days long. Green (1922) estimated the lifetime of a female in Sri Lanka to be 15 weeks (105 days), with reproduction starting at nine weeks (63 days). There are up to three successive generations in a year, but reproduction is usually asynchronous, so all stages of development may be present at any time. Ezzat's (1956) timing of the different developmental stages in relation to temperature in Egypt (reared on potato sprouts) gave the following:
Egg incubation period 23-37 days (at 23° and 16° C, respectively)
First instar 15-34.5 days (at 26° and 15° C, respectively)
Second instar 13-28 days (at 26° and 15° C, respectively)
Third instar 14-33 days (at 26° and 16° C, respectively)
Ezzat (1956) recorded the shortest lifecycle (77.5 days) at 29° C. He experimented with rearing I. insignis at different temperatures, and concluded that the minimum and maximum critical temperatures for successful survival of colonies were 14° and 34° C, respectively. Below the minimum temperature development halts, and above 34° egg mortality increases significantly.
Temperature and humidity effects on the life cycle of I. insignis were also studied by Nakano et al. (1974) in Brazil, using cultures on potato sprouts; their findings broadly agree with those of Ezzat (1956).
Dispersal occurs at the first instar (crawler) stage; these insects are very small, light and can survive several days without feeding. Green (1922) pointed out that they cannot walk far by themselves but are ideally suited to transport by water, wind and animal agents including domestic animals and man. Accidental introductions to new countries apparently occur on infested planting material.
Natural enemiesTop of page
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Only one biological control agent is known to be effective against I. insignis: the coccinellid predator, Hyperaspis pantherina (Booth et al., 1995). This species is native to Mexico and has been introduced to several other tropical countries as a biological control agent against I. insignis.
ImpactTop of page
I. insignis is rarely damaging in the Caribbean region, where it originated; in this region it occurs mainly on wild hosts. Bartlett (1978) remarks that it tends to become a serious pest in areas where it has been introduced to drier climatic zones, although primarily it is a glasshouse pest in subtropical and temperate regions. Over much of its geographical range it is regarded as a minor pest, but in Hawaii, East Africa and South and Central America it has at times become a severe problem on Citrus, coffee, olive, Jacaranda, Lantana and other ornamental plants.
The establishment of I. insignis on St. Helena in the late 1980s caused concern because, in the absence of any natural enemies, the pest was destroying the last remaining stands of the endemic gumwood, Commidendrum robustum (Booth et al., 1995).
UsesTop of page
I. insignis has been introduced to some countries as a control agent against the weed Lantana camara, but its polyphagous habits make this use unwise as it tends to cause more problems than it solves (Green, 1922).
Detection and InspectionTop of page
Examine shrubs or trees closely for signs of sooty mould or sticky honeydew on leaves and stems, or ants running about. Look for I. insignis on twigs and stems (and sometimes on the underside of leaf midribs); the white ovisacs of the adult females are easily seen, especially when they walk about and the moving ovisacs catch the light. Good light conditions are essential for examination; in poor light, a powerful flashlight is helpful.
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
In life, I. insignis can be distinguished from most species of Orthezia by the large proportion of the dorsum lacking a waxy cover, leaving the olive-green body colour visible. Most species of Orthezia have dorsal wax plates more fully developed, with little or no bare cuticle visible. In many parts of the world I. insignis is the only common ortheziid pest. However, in its native Neotropical Region, economically important species of Orthezia are present with which it could be confused. It can only be identified authoritatively by examination of slide-mounted adult females under a compound light microscope and use of taxonomic keys. Williams and Watson (1990) describe a method for preparation of slide mounts, and a good key is provided by Morrison (1952).
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.
Biological control of I. insignis has only ever been achieved in tropical countries, using the coccinellid predator, Hyperaspis pantherina. This is the only natural enemy that has a proven track record in reducing infestations of I. insignis significantly, the most recent success being its use in St. Helena in the early 1990s to save the last stands of endemic gumwood trees that were threatened with extinction (IIBC, 1996).
Bartlett (1978) mentions the introduction of Hyperaspis donzeli and the chamaemyiid, Melaleucopis simmondsi, to Brazil but there is no record of establishment.
Green (1922) regarded I. insignis as the most difficult scale insect to control by chemical means, and suggested that any pesticide found to be effective against it would be effective against all scale insect pests. It is probably the water-repellent properties of its thick waxy plates that make I. insignis resistant to chemical sprays. Green (1922) found sprays containing soaps more effective than other pesticides. In view of the ineffectiveness of sprays, it is probably wise to ensure that any pesticide used against I. insignis does not injure its natural enemies, since they are likely to be important in helping to keep populations at low levels in the long term.
Hussain et al. (1996) tested neem and Pongamia pinnata oils at 4% against I. insignis on Crossandra sp. in Karnataka, India. At this concentration, both oils were found to be more effective at controlling the pest than quinalphos.
If regulation is required, planting material of host-plant species of I. insignis should be inspected in the growing season previous to shipment and be found free of infestation. A phytosanitary certificate should guarantee absence of the pest from consignments of either planting material or produce. Any shipments of vegetative material of woody plants should be examined thoroughly to detect I. insignis.
ReferencesTop of page
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. Ortheziidae. In: Clausen CP, ed. Introduced Parasites and Predators of Arthropod Pests and Weeds: A World Review. Agriculture Handbook No. 480. Washington, DC, USA: United States Department of Agriculture, 136-137.
Ben-Dov, Y., Miller, D. R., Gibson, G. A. P., 1998. ScaleNet: a database of the scale insects of the world. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: United States Department of Agriculture. World Wide Web page at http://www.sel.barc.usda.gov/scalenet/scalenet.htm.
Booth RG, Cross AE, Fowler SV, Shaw RH, 1995. The biology and taxonomy of Hyperaspis pantherina (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) and the classical biological control of its prey, Orthezia insignis (Homoptera: Ortheziidae). Bulletin of Entomological Research, 85(3):307-314
Browne ET, 1887. Notes on a species of Orthezia found in Kew Gardens. Quekett Microscope Club Journal (series 2), 3:169-172.
Epila JSO, 1986. Aspects of the biology of Orthezia insignis Browne (Ortheziidae: Homoptera) infesting Hamelia sphaerocarpa Ruiz & Pav. (Rubiaceae) in Uganda
Ezzat YM, 1956. Studies on the "Kew Bug" Orthezia insignis Browne [Coccoidea - Ortheziidae]. Bulletin Société Entomologique d'Egypte, 40:415-431.
Garcia, M. M., Denno, B. D., Miller, D. R., Miller, G. L., Ben-Dov, Y., Hardy, N. B., 2016. ScaleNet: A literature-based model of scale insect biology and systematics. http://scalenet.info
Gill RJ, 1993. The scale insects of California. Part 2. The minor families (Homoptera: Coccoidea). Technical Series in Agricultural Biosystematics and Plant Pathology Number 2. Sacramento, California, USA: California Department of Food and Agriculture, 79-80.
Green EE, 1922. The Coccidae of Ceylon. Part V. London, UK: Dulou & Co, 347-472.
ISSG, 2017. Species profile Orthezia insignis, Global Invasive Species Database (GISD) http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/speciesname/Orthezia+insignis
Kawai, S., 1980. Scale insects of Japan in colors. Tokyo, Japan: National Agricultural Education Association. 455 pp.
Mito, T., Uesugi, T., 2004. Invasive alieb species in Japan: the status quo and the new regulation for prevention of their adverse effects., Global Environmental Research, 8(2):171-193
Morrison H, 1925. Classification of scale insects of the subfamily Ortheziinae. Journal of Agricultural Research, 30:97-154.
Morrison H, 1952. Classification of the Ortheziidae. Supplement to "classification of scale insects of the subfamily Ortheziinae". United States Department of Agriculture Technical Bulletin No. 1052.
National Institute for Environmental Studies, 2015. Invasive species of Japan https://www.nies.go.jp/biodiversity/invasive/index_en.html
Distribution MapsTop of page
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