Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Maconellicoccus hirsutus
(pink hibiscus mealybug)

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Datasheet

Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 10 December 2020
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Maconellicoccus hirsutus
  • Preferred Common Name
  • pink hibiscus mealybug
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • M. hirsutus is highly invasive if introduced in the absence of its natural enemies, as demonstrated by its rapid spread through the Caribbean Islands and beyond in spite of plant quarantine strengthening throughout the region. Without natural control...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); adult females. Laboratory specimens. USA
TitleFemales
CaptionMaconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); adult females. Laboratory specimens. USA
Copyright©Florida Division of Plant Industry/Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); adult females. Laboratory specimens. USA
FemalesMaconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); adult females. Laboratory specimens. USA©Florida Division of Plant Industry/Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); adult females in a field infestation. USA
TitleField infestation
CaptionMaconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); adult females in a field infestation. USA
Copyright©Jeffrey W. Lotz/Florida Division of Plant Industry/Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); adult females in a field infestation. USA
Field infestationMaconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); adult females in a field infestation. USA©Jeffrey W. Lotz/Florida Division of Plant Industry/Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); adult male, in a field infestation. USA.
TitleMale
CaptionMaconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); adult male, in a field infestation. USA.
Copyright©Florida Division of Plant Industry/Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); adult male, in a field infestation. USA.
MaleMaconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); adult male, in a field infestation. USA.©Florida Division of Plant Industry/Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); field infestation. USA.
TitleField infestation
CaptionMaconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); field infestation. USA.
Copyright©Florida Division of Plant Industry/Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); field infestation. USA.
Field infestationMaconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); field infestation. USA.©Florida Division of Plant Industry/Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); field infestation. USA.
TitleField infestation
CaptionMaconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); field infestation. USA.
Copyright©Florida Division of Plant Industry/Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); field infestation. USA.
Field infestationMaconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); field infestation. USA.©Florida Division of Plant Industry/Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); infestation, in laboratory. USA.
TitleInfestation
CaptionMaconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); infestation, in laboratory. USA.
Copyright©Florida Division of Plant Industry/Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); infestation, in laboratory. USA.
InfestationMaconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); infestation, in laboratory. USA.©Florida Division of Plant Industry/Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); foliar damage, from a field infestation. USA.
TitleDamage
CaptionMaconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); foliar damage, from a field infestation. USA.
Copyright©Florida Division of Plant Industry/Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); foliar damage, from a field infestation. USA.
DamageMaconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); foliar damage, from a field infestation. USA.©Florida Division of Plant Industry/Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); field infestation on Hibiscus spp. USA.
TitleField infestation
CaptionMaconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); field infestation on Hibiscus spp. USA.
Copyright©Florida Division of Plant Industry/Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); field infestation on Hibiscus spp. USA.
Field infestationMaconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); field infestation on Hibiscus spp. USA.©Florida Division of Plant Industry/Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); adult female, ventral view. Slide mounted specimen.
TitleFemale
CaptionMaconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); adult female, ventral view. Slide mounted specimen.
Copyright©Alessandra Rung/Scale Insects/USDA APHIS ITP/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); adult female, ventral view. Slide mounted specimen.
FemaleMaconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); adult female, ventral view. Slide mounted specimen.©Alessandra Rung/Scale Insects/USDA APHIS ITP/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); adult female, diagrammatic view.
TitleFemale
CaptionMaconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); adult female, diagrammatic view.
Copyright©CAB International
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); adult female, diagrammatic view.
FemaleMaconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug); adult female, diagrammatic view.©CAB International

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green, 1908)

Preferred Common Name

  • pink hibiscus mealybug

Other Scientific Names

  • Maconellicoccus pasaniae (Borchsenius) Tang, 1992
  • Maconellicoccus perforatus (DeLotto) DeLotto, 1964
  • Paracoccus pasaniae Borchsenius, 1962
  • Phenacoccus glomeratus Green, 1922
  • Phenacoccus hirsutus Green, 1908
  • Phenacoccus quaternus Ramakrishna Ayyar, 1921
  • Pseudococcus hibisci Hall, 1921
  • Spilococcus perforatus De Lotto, 1954

International Common Names

  • English: hibiscus mealybug; hirsutus mealybug; pink mealybug
  • French: cochenille de l'Hibiscus

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Schmierlaus, Hibiscus-
  • India: grape mealybug; mulberry mealybug

EPPO code

  • PHENHI (Maconellicoccus hirsutus)

Summary of Invasiveness

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M. hirsutus is highly invasive if introduced in the absence of its natural enemies, as demonstrated by its rapid spread through the Caribbean Islands and beyond in spite of plant quarantine strengthening throughout the region. Without natural controls it had a devastating impact on the agriculture, natural forests and tourism of Grenada (Peters and Watson, 1999), damaging foreign exchange, trade in agricultural products, and the local ecology and water economy.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Hemiptera
  •                         Suborder: Sternorrhyncha
  •                             Unknown: Coccoidea
  •                                 Family: Pseudococcidae
  •                                     Genus: Maconellicoccus
  •                                         Species: Maconellicoccus hirsutus

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Maconellicoccus hirsutus was described from India as Phenacoccus hirsutus by Green (1908). Ezzat (1958) subsequently designated it as the type species of the genus Maconellicoccus. Williams (1996) says the genus currently consists of eight species (native to Australia (4), Africa (1), southern Asia (2) and Nepal (1)).

Description

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Crawlers (0.3 mm long) are pink. Immature females and newly matured females have greyish-pink bodies dusted with mealy white wax. The adult female is 2.5-4 mm long, soft-bodied, elongate oval and slightly flattened; on maturation, she begins to secrete sticky, elastic, white wax filaments from her abdomen to form a protective ovisac for her eggs. As her pinkish-grey body fills with salmon-pink eggs it assumes a pink colour, but this is often not immediately visible because the entire colony tends to become covered by white, waxy ovisac material. When the sticky ovisac wax is parted with a needle, clusters of pink eggs and pink to grey females become visible. On microscopic examination of slide-mounted females, the combination of 9-segmented antennae, anal lobe bars, numerous dorsal oral rim ducts on all parts of the body except the limbs and long, flagellate dorsal setae make the species fairly easy to recognize in parts of the world where other Maconellicoccus species do not occur. Males have one pair of very simple wings, long antennae, white wax filaments projecting posteriorly and lack mouthparts.

Distribution

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M. hirsutus is probably native to southern Asia (Williams, 1996) and has been accidentally introduced to other parts of the world (most recently to North America (California, Florida and Mexico) and the Caribbean, where it has spread to more than 25 territories and is still extending its range (Kairo et al., 2000)). It occurs as far north as Lebanon, so there is no reason why it should not be able to colonize the southern USA, southern Europe and parts of the Middle East where it is not yet known (for example, Israel).

Green's (1908) description included material from Tasmania, but this is now regarded as a separate species, M. tasmaniae (Williams, 1985).

Further notes on the list of countries:

Within the British Virgin Islands M. hirsutus has been recorded on Tortola (CABI/EPPO, 1997) and Virgin Gorda and St. Thomas (Natural History Museum collection, London, UK).

M. hirsutus is also present on St. Barthelemy, Guadeloupe (Etienne et al., 1988).

The records for Indonesia, Nusa Tenggara, come from the Lesser Sunda Islands (CABI/EPPO, 1997) and Lombok (Williams, 1996).

An erroneous record for Algeria in Ben-Dov (1994) was based on a misinterpretation of Balachowsky (1926), which mentioned the threat to Algeria posed by M. hirsutus. This was taken up in the CABI/EPPO (1997) distribution map and previous editions of the Compendium.

A record of M. hirsutus in Zambia (Williams, 1996; CABI/EPPO, 2004) published in previous versions of the Compendium was erroneous. Williams (1996) mentions Zambia in the distribution list for M. hirsutus, but this is based on a record of interception of the pest in Chicago, USA, and is considered invalid as a record of M. hirsutus in Zambia. There is no record of M. hirsutus in Zambia in CABI/EPPO (2004).

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: 25 Feb 2021
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

AlgeriaAbsent, Invalid presence record(s)
BeninPresent, LocalizedIntroduced
Burkina FasoPresentIntroduced
CameroonPresentIntroduced
Central African RepublicPresentIntroduced
ChadPresentIntroduced
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresentIntroduced
Congo, Republic of thePresentIntroduced
Côte d'IvoirePresentIntroduced
EgyptPresentIntroducedInvasive
GabonPresentIntroduced
GambiaPresentIntroduced
KenyaPresentIntroduced
LiberiaPresentIntroduced
NigerPresentIntroduced
NigeriaPresentIntroduced
RéunionPresent
SenegalPresentIntroduced
SeychellesPresentIntroduced
SomaliaPresentIntroduced
SudanPresentIntroduced
TanzaniaPresentIntroduced
-Zanzibar IslandPresent
TunisiaPresent
ZambiaAbsent, Invalid presence record(s)

Asia

BangladeshPresentNative
BruneiPresent
CambodiaPresentNative
ChinaPresent, LocalizedNative
-GuangdongPresentNative
-ShanxiPresentNative
-TibetPresentNative
-YunnanPresentNative
Hong KongPresent
IndiaPresent, WidespreadNative
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentNative
-Andhra PradeshPresentNative
-AssamPresentNative
-BiharPresentNative
-DelhiPresentNative
-GujaratPresentNative
-HaryanaPresent
-KarnatakaPresentNative
-KeralaPresentNative
-Madhya PradeshPresentNative
-MaharashtraPresentNative
-OdishaPresentNative
-PunjabPresentNative
-Tamil NaduPresentNative
-TripuraPresentNative
-Uttar PradeshPresentNative
-West BengalPresentNative
IndonesiaPresent, Widespread
-Irian JayaPresent
-JavaPresent
-Lesser Sunda IslandsPresent
-SulawesiPresent
-SumatraPresent
IranPresent
IsraelPresent
JapanPresent, Localized
-Ryukyu IslandsPresent
JordanPresent
LaosPresentNative
LebanonPresent
MacauPresent
MalaysiaPresentNative
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentNative
MaldivesPresentNative
MyanmarPresentNative
NepalPresentNative
OmanPresent
PakistanPresentNative
PhilippinesPresent
Saudi ArabiaPresent
SingaporePresentNative
Sri LankaPresentNative
TaiwanPresent
ThailandPresentNative
United Arab EmiratesPresent
VietnamPresentNative
YemenPresent
-SocotraPresent

Europe

CyprusPresent, Widespread
GreecePresent

North America

AnguillaAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)First reported: 1996/1997
Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroduced2001Invasive
ArubaPresentIntroduced1997Invasive
BahamasPresentIntroduced2000Invasive
BarbadosPresentIntroduced2000Invasive
BelizePresentIntroduced1999Invasive
British Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced1997Invasive
Cayman IslandsPresent
Costa RicaPresent, Localized
CuraçaoPresentIntroduced1997Invasive
DominicaPresentIntroduced2001Invasive
Dominican RepublicAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)2002
GrenadaPresent, LocalizedIntroduced1994Invasive
GuadeloupePresentIntroduced1998Invasive
GuatemalaAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)
HaitiPresentIntroduced2002Invasive
JamaicaPresent, Localized
MartiniquePresentIntroduced1999Invasive
MexicoPresent, Few occurrencesIntroduced1999Invasive
MontserratPresentIntroduced1998Invasive
Netherlands AntillesPresentIntroduced1996Invasive
NicaraguaPresent, Localized
Puerto RicoPresentIntroduced1997Invasive
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentIntroduced1995Invasive
Saint LuciaPresentIntroduced1996Invasive
Saint MartinPresent
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentIntroduced1997Invasive
Sint MaartenPresentIntroduced1996Invasive
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroduced1995Invasive
U.S. Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced1997Invasive
United StatesPresent, Localized1999
-AlabamaPresent
-CaliforniaPresent, LocalizedIntroduced1999Invasive
-FloridaPresent, LocalizedIntroduced2002Invasive
-GeorgiaPresent, Few occurrences
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced1983Invasive
-LouisianaPresent
-New YorkPresent
-North CarolinaPresent
-OklahomaPresent
-South CarolinaPresent
-TennesseePresent
-TexasPresent

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Northern TerritoryPresentIntroducedInvasive
-QueenslandPresentIntroducedInvasive
-South AustraliaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroducedInvasive
Federated States of MicronesiaPresent, LocalizedIntroducedInvasive
FijiPresent
GuamPresentIntroducedInvasive
New CaledoniaPresent
Northern Mariana IslandsPresent
PalauPresent
Papua New GuineaPresent, Widespread
SamoaPresentIntroducedInvasive
Solomon IslandsPresent
TongaPresentIntroduced
TuvaluPresentIntroduced
VanuatuPresent

South America

BrazilPresent, Localized
-AlagoasPresent
-BahiaPresent
-Espirito SantoPresent
-MaranhaoPresentOriginal citation: Ramos et al. (2018)
-Mato GrossoPresent
-ParaPresent
-PernambucoPresent
-Rio Grande do SulPresent
-RoraimaPresentIntroduced
-Santa CatarinaPresent
-Sao PauloPresent
ColombiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
French GuianaPresentIntroduced1997Invasive
GuyanaPresent, WidespreadIntroduced1997Invasive
SurinamePresent, LocalizedIntroducedInvasive
VenezuelaPresentIntroduced1999Invasive

History of Introduction and Spread

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The recent introductions noted in the distribution table were all accidental:

French Guiana, 1997; Mexico, California and Martinique, 1999 (Matile-Ferrero et al., 2000); Florida, Dominican Republic and Haiti, 2002 (Meyerdirk and DeChi, 2005); Grenada, 1994 and Guadeloupe, 1998 (Etienne et al., 1998); US Virgin Islands, 1997 (Lemon and Borland, 1997). Kairo et al. (2000) give the following introduction dates: Hawaii (1983), Anguilla (1996), Bahamas (2000), Barbados (2000), Belize (1999), British Virgin Islands (1997), Curaçao (1997), Dominica (2001), Montserrat (1998), Sint Maarten/St Martin (1996), St Eustatius (1997), Puerto Rico (1997), St Kitts and Nevis (1995), St Lucia (1996), St Vincent and the Grenadines (1997), Trinidad and Tobago (1995 and 1996 respectively), US Trust Territories (1997), Guyana (1997) and Venezuela (1999).

Risk of Introduction

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Plant material imported from areas infested by M. hirsutus presents the greatest risk to non-infested countries between 7° and 30° latitude.

Since its appearance in the Caribbean region in 1994/1995, M. hirsutus is regarded as of high quarantine importance by the CPPC. The mealybug is regarded as a plant quarantine threat to Colombia (Caicedo Ramirez and Suarez Alba, 2000), Honduras (Roberto Padilla, 2000) and other North, Central and South American countries not yet affected.

Accidental introduction to new territories is highly possible through the movement of infested living plant material through shipping or air transport/ mail, particularly of ornamental plants, cut flowers, vegetative propogation other than meristem culture, fruit and vegetables.

It may be advisable for plant quarantine services to make available a list of countries already infested, and to regulate trade in fresh plant material from these countries. Trade between Caribbean countries has continued in spite of the mealybug problem, through a system of inspection of source areas and pre-export certification of shipments being free of infection. Planting material of host-plant species of M. hirsutus 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 fresh plant material from an infested country to one that is not yet infested but could be, should be examined thoroughly to detect M. hirsutus.

As the mealybug has no known beneficial effects, it seems unlikely that deliberate introduction would occur except for malicious purposes.

Habitat

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M. hirsutus forms dense colonies in cracks and crevices. The severe distortion of new growth caused by the mealybug on many hosts, creates a microhabitat for them (Ghose, 1972a; Beardsley, 1985). These colonies can be difficult or impossible for natural enemies to reach, especially coccinellid predators.

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial

Hosts/Species Affected

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M. hirsutus is highly polyphagous and has been recorded feeding on hosts from 76 plant families (Ben-Dov and German, 2003) and over 200 plant genera (Levy, 1996); it shows some preference for hosts in the families Malvaceae, Leguminosae and Moraceae. Mani (1989), Garland (1998), Miller et al. (1998) and Ben-Dov and German (2003) give extensive host lists. When introduced to tropical countries in the absence of any natural enemies, M. hirsutus attacks a wide range of (usually woody) plants including agricultural, horticultural and forest species. It has been recorded attacking cotton and soyabean, both annuals that are rarely attacked by mealybugs (Williams, 1986). However, in the Caribbean it has only developed seriously damaging populations on fewer than 20 host-plant species (Kairo et al., 2000). If M. hirsutus spreads into the southern USA and southern Europe, it could threaten crops like grapes and cotton (Williams, 1996). One of the commonest, favoured hosts is Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. M. hirsutus can be reared in the laboratory on pumpkins, particularly those varieties with creases in the skin (Japanese pumpkin, Cucurbita moschata; acorn squash, Cucurbita pepo var. Turbinata) and on sprouting Irish potatoes (Mani, 1990; Meyerdirk, 1997; Serrano and Lapointe, 2002).

M. hirsutus forms dense colonies in cracks and crevices. The severe distortion of new growth caused by the mealybug on many hosts, creates a microhabitat for them (Ghose, 1972a; Beardsley, 1985). These colonies can be difficult or impossible for natural enemies to reach, especially coccinellid predators.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContextReferences
Abelmoschus esculentus (okra)MalvaceaeMain
Abutilon indicum (country mallow)MalvaceaeOther
    Acacia (wattles)FabaceaeOther
    Acacia acatlensisFabaceaeUnknown
    Acacia cochliacanthaFabaceaeHabitat/association
    Acacia farnesiana (huisache)FabaceaeUnknown
    Acacia hindsiiFabaceaeUnknown
    Acacia nilotica (gum arabic tree)FabaceaeUnknown
    Acalypha (Copperleaf)EuphorbiaceaeOther
    Acalypha hispida (Copperleaf)EuphorbiaceaeUnknown
    • Matile-Ferrero and Étienne (2006)
    Acanthus ilicifoliusAcanthaceaeOther
      AchariaLimacodidaeUnknown
      Achyranthes aspera (devil's horsewhip)AmaranthaceaeUnknown
      • Matile-Ferrero and Étienne (2006)
      Aegiphila martinicensisUnknown
      • Matile-Ferrero and Étienne (2006)
      AlbiziaFabaceaeUnknown
      Albizia lebbeck (Indian siris)FabaceaeOther
      AllamandaApocynaceaeMain
        Allamanda cathartica (yellow allamanda)ApocynaceaeUnknown
        • Etienne et al. (1998);
        • Matile-Ferrero and Étienne (2006)
        Alpinia purpurata (red ginger)ZingiberaceaeMain
        • Etienne et al. (1998);
        • Matile-Ferrero and Étienne (2006)
        Ananas comosus (pineapple)BromeliaceaeUnknown
        AngelicaApiaceaeOther
          AnnonaAnnonaceaeMain
          Annona cherimola (cherimoya)AnnonaceaeOther
            Annona muricata (soursop)AnnonaceaeMain
            Annona reticulata (bullock's heart)AnnonaceaeOther
            Annona squamosa (sugar apple)AnnonaceaeMain
            AnthuriumAraceaeOther
              Arachis hypogaea (groundnut)FabaceaeOther
              AraliaAraliaceaeOther
              Artocarpus (breadfruit trees)MoraceaeMain
                Artocarpus altilis (breadfruit)MoraceaeOther
                AsparagusLiliaceaeUnknown
                • Ezzat (1958)
                Asparagus officinalis (asparagus)LiliaceaeOther
                  Asparagus setaceus (asparagus fern)LiliaceaeUnknown
                  • Matile-Ferrero and Étienne (2006)
                  Averrhoa carambola (carambola)OxalidaceaeMain
                  Azadirachta indica (neem tree)MeliaceaeOther
                  Bauhinia (camel's foot)FabaceaeOther
                  Bauhinia variegata (mountain ebony)FabaceaeUnknown
                  BetaChenopodiaceaeOther
                    BignoniaBignoniaceaeOther
                    BoehmeriaUrticaceaeOther
                      Boehmeria nivea (ramie)UrticaceaeMain
                        BougainvilleaNyctaginaceaeMain
                          Brassica oleracea (cabbages, cauliflowers)BrassicaceaeOther
                            Byttneria aculeataUnknown
                            Cajanus cajan (pigeon pea)FabaceaeMain
                            Capsicum annuum (bell pepper)SolanaceaeOther
                              Casuarina (beefwood)CasuarinaceaeUnknown
                              Cedrela odorata (Spanish cedar)MeliaceaeUnknown
                              Ceiba pentandra (kapok)BombacaceaeOther
                              Centrolobium paraenseFabaceaeOther
                              CeratoniaFabaceaeUnknown
                              Ceratonia siliqua (carob)FabaceaeOther
                              Chenopodium album (fat hen)ChenopodiaceaeOther
                              Chrysanthemum (daisy)AsteraceaeOther
                              • Ezzat (1958)
                              Chrysanthemum coronarium (garland chrysanthemum)AsteraceaeOther
                                CitrusRutaceaeMain
                                Citrus aurantiifolia (lime)RutaceaeOther
                                  Citrus maxima (pummelo)RutaceaeUnknown
                                  Citrus sinensis (navel orange)RutaceaeOther
                                  Citrus x paradisi (grapefruit)RutaceaeOther
                                  Clerodendrum infortunatumLamiaceaeUnknown
                                  • Singh and Ghosh (1970)
                                  Clitoria ternatea (butterfly-pea)FabaceaeOther
                                    Codiaeum variegatum (garden croton)EuphorbiaceaeOther
                                    • Matile-Ferrero and Étienne (2006)
                                    Coffea (coffee)RubiaceaeOther
                                    Coffea arabica (arabica coffee)RubiaceaeOther
                                      Coffea canephora (robusta coffee)RubiaceaeUnknown
                                      ColocasiaAraceaeOther
                                        Corchorus (jutes)TiliaceaeOther
                                          Corchorus capsularis (white jute)TiliaceaeOther
                                            Corchorus olitorius (jute)TiliaceaeOther
                                              Cordia dichotoma (Indian cherry)BoraginaceaeUnknown
                                              CosmosAsteraceaeOther
                                                CrotalariaFabaceaeOther
                                                Crotalaria micansFabaceaeUnknown
                                                Cucumis sativus (cucumber)CucurbitaceaeOther
                                                  Cucurbita (pumpkin)CucurbitaceaeOther
                                                    Cucurbita moschata (pumpkin)CucurbitaceaeOther
                                                    Cucurbita pepo (marrow)CucurbitaceaeOther
                                                      Cydonia oblonga (quince)RosaceaeUnknown
                                                      DahliaAsteraceaeOther
                                                        Dalbergia (rosewoods)FabaceaeUnknown
                                                        Delonix regia (flamboyant)FabaceaeUnknown
                                                        Desmanthus virgatus (False tamarind)FabaceaeUnknown
                                                        • Matile-Ferrero and Étienne (2006)
                                                        Diospyros kaki (persimmon)EbenaceaeOther
                                                          Dodonaea viscosa (switch sorrel)SapindaceaeOther
                                                            DurantaVerbenaceaeOther
                                                              EnterolobiumUnknown
                                                              Enterolobium cyclocarpum (ear pod tree)FabaceaeUnknown
                                                              ErythrinaFabaceaeUnknown
                                                              Erythrina spp.FabaceaeOther
                                                                Erythrina subumbrans (December tree)FabaceaeUnknown
                                                                Erythrina variegata (Indian coral tree)FabaceaeOther
                                                                  Eugenia uniflora (Surinam cherry)MyrtaceaeUnknown
                                                                  Euphorbia atotoUnknown
                                                                  FicusMoraceaeOther
                                                                  Ficus benghalensis (banyan)MoraceaeOther
                                                                  Ficus benjamina (weeping fig)MoraceaeOther
                                                                    Ficus carica (common fig)MoraceaeOther
                                                                    Ficus elastica (rubber plant)MoraceaeOther
                                                                    Ficus laurifoliaUnknown
                                                                    • Ezzat (1958)
                                                                    Ficus obtusifoliaMoraceaeUnknown
                                                                    Ficus pertusaMoraceaeUnknown
                                                                    Ficus platyphyllaMoraceaeOther
                                                                      Ficus pumila (creeping fig)MoraceaeUnknown
                                                                      Ficus racemosa (cluster tree)MoraceaeUnknown
                                                                      Ficus religiosa (sacred fig tree)MoraceaeUnknown
                                                                      • Singh and Ghosh (1970)
                                                                      Ficus semicordataMoraceaeOther
                                                                        GliricidiaFabaceaeOther
                                                                          Gliricidia maculataFabaceaeUnknown
                                                                          Gliricidia sepium (gliricidia)FabaceaeUnknown
                                                                          Glycine max (soyabean)FabaceaeMain
                                                                          Gossypium (cotton)MalvaceaeMain
                                                                          Gossypium arboreum (cotton, tree)MalvaceaeMain
                                                                          Gossypium herbaceum (short staple cotton)MalvaceaeMain
                                                                          • Singh and Ghosh (1970)
                                                                          Gossypium hirsutum (Bourbon cotton)MalvaceaeMain
                                                                            GrevilleaProteaceaeUnknown
                                                                            Grevillea robusta (silky oak)ProteaceaeUnknown
                                                                            GrewiaTiliaceaeOther
                                                                            Guazuma ulmifolia (bastard cedar)SterculiaceaeUnknown
                                                                            Helianthus annuus (sunflower)AsteraceaeOther
                                                                              HeliconiaHeliconiaceaeOther
                                                                                Hevea brasiliensis (rubber)EuphorbiaceaeOther
                                                                                  Hibiscus (rosemallows)MalvaceaeMain
                                                                                  Hibiscus cannabinus (kenaf)MalvaceaeMain
                                                                                  Hibiscus elatus (blue mahoe)MalvaceaeOther
                                                                                    Hibiscus manihot (bele)MalvaceaeOther
                                                                                    Hibiscus mutabilis (cottonrose)MalvaceaeOther
                                                                                    Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (China-rose)MalvaceaeMain
                                                                                    Hibiscus sabdariffa (Roselle)MalvaceaeMain
                                                                                    Hibiscus schizopetalus (fringed hibiscus)MalvaceaeOther
                                                                                    Hibiscus surattensisUnknown
                                                                                    Hibiscus syriacus (shrubby althaea)MalvaceaeUnknown
                                                                                    Hibiscus tiliaceus (coast cottonwood)MalvaceaeOther
                                                                                    Hoya carnosa (Wax plant)AsclepiadaceaeUnknown
                                                                                    • Matile-Ferrero and Étienne (2006)
                                                                                    Inga edulis (ice-cream bean)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                    Inga ingoidesFabaceaeUnknown
                                                                                    • Matile-Ferrero and Étienne (2006)
                                                                                    Inga veraFabaceaeUnknown
                                                                                    Ipomoea (morning glory)ConvolvulaceaeUnknown
                                                                                    IxoraRubiaceaeOther
                                                                                      JacarandaBignoniaceaeOther
                                                                                      Jasminum (jasmine)OleaceaeUnknown
                                                                                      Jasminum sambac (Arabian jasmine)OleaceaeOther
                                                                                        Jatropha curcas (jatropha)EuphorbiaceaeOther
                                                                                        Lactuca sativa (lettuce)AsteraceaeOther
                                                                                          Lantana camara (lantana)VerbenaceaeOther
                                                                                            Lawsonia inermis (Egyptian privet)LythraceaeUnknown
                                                                                            LeucaenaFabaceaeOther
                                                                                              Leucaena leucocephala (leucaena)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                              • Matile-Ferrero and Étienne (2006)
                                                                                              MacarangaEuphorbiaceaeOther
                                                                                              Malachra alceifoliaUnknown
                                                                                              MalpighiaMalpighiaceae
                                                                                                Malpighia emarginataMalpighiaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                • Matile-Ferrero and Étienne (2006)
                                                                                                Malpighia glabra (acerola)MalpighiaceaeMain
                                                                                                  Malus sylvestris (crab-apple tree)RosaceaeOther
                                                                                                    Malvaviscus arboreus (wax mallow)MalvaceaeOther
                                                                                                    Malvaviscus conzattiiUnknown
                                                                                                    MangiferaAnacardiaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                    • Marotta et al. (2001)
                                                                                                    Mangifera indica (mango)AnacardiaceaeOther
                                                                                                    Manihot esculenta (cassava)EuphorbiaceaeOther
                                                                                                    Manilkara zapota (sapodilla)SapotaceaeMain
                                                                                                    Medicago sativa (lucerne)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                    Mimosa (sensitive plants)FabaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                    Mimosa diplotricha (creeping sensitive plant)FabaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                    Mimosa pigra (giant sensitive plant)FabaceaeHabitat/association
                                                                                                    Mimosa pudica (sensitive plant)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                    Momordica charantia (bitter gourd)CucurbitaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                    • Matile-Ferrero and Étienne (2006)
                                                                                                    Montanoa grandifloraAsteraceaeOther
                                                                                                      Morus (mulberrytree)MoraceaeMain
                                                                                                      Morus alba (mora)MoraceaeMain
                                                                                                      Musa (banana)MusaceaeOther
                                                                                                        Musa x paradisiaca (plantain)MusaceaeMain
                                                                                                          MussaendaRubiaceaeOther
                                                                                                          • Matile-Ferrero and Étienne (2006)
                                                                                                          Myrtus communis (myrtle)MyrtaceaeOther
                                                                                                            Nephelium lappaceum (rambutan)SapindaceaeOther
                                                                                                              Nerium (oleander)ApocynaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                              Nerium oleander (oleander)ApocynaceaeOther
                                                                                                                Opuntia (Pricklypear)CactaceaeOther
                                                                                                                • Ezzat (1958)
                                                                                                                Parkinsonia aculeata (Mexican palo-verde)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                                  Parthenium hysterophorus (parthenium weed)AsteraceaeOther
                                                                                                                    Passiflora (passionflower)PassifloraceaeOther
                                                                                                                      Passiflora edulis (passionfruit)PassifloraceaeMain
                                                                                                                      PerseaLauraceaeOther
                                                                                                                        Persea americana (avocado)LauraceaeMain
                                                                                                                        • Matile-Ferrero and Étienne (2006)
                                                                                                                        Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                                        • Ezzat (1958)
                                                                                                                        Phoenix dactylifera (date-palm)ArecaceaeOther
                                                                                                                        Phoenix sylvestris (east Indian wine palm)ArecaceaeOther
                                                                                                                          Phyllanthus elsiaeUnknown
                                                                                                                          Phyllanthus niruri (seed-under-the-leaf)EuphorbiaceaeOther
                                                                                                                          • Singh and Ghosh (1970)
                                                                                                                          PithecellobiumFabaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                          Portulaca grandiflora (Rose moss)PortulacaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                          ProsopisUnknown
                                                                                                                          Prosopis cineraria (screw-bean)FabaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                          Prosopis laevigataFabaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                          Prunus domestica (plum)RosaceaeOther
                                                                                                                            Prunus salicina (Japanese plum)RosaceaeOther
                                                                                                                              Psidium (guava)MyrtaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                              Psidium guajava (guava)MyrtaceaeOther
                                                                                                                              Punica granatum (pomegranate)PunicaceaeOther
                                                                                                                              QuisqualisCombretaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                Rhododendron (Azalea)EricaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                  Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                    Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                      Salix (willows)SalicaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                                      Samanea saman (rain tree)FabaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                        Samanea samanUnknown
                                                                                                                                        Senna siamea (yellow cassia)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                        Sida acuta (sida)MalvaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                        • Matile-Ferrero and Étienne (2006)
                                                                                                                                        SolandraSolanaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                          Solanum aethiopicum (african scarlet eggplant)SolanaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                                          Solanum americanumSolanaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                                          Solanum lycopersicum (tomato)SolanaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                          Solanum melongena (aubergine)SolanaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                                          • Matile-Ferrero and Étienne (2006)
                                                                                                                                          Solanum umbellatumUnknown
                                                                                                                                          Spondias (purple mombin)AnacardiaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                            Spondias dulcis (otaheite apple)AnacardiaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                            • Matile-Ferrero and Étienne (2006)
                                                                                                                                            Spondias mombin (hog plum)AnacardiaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                            Spondias purpurea (red mombin)AnacardiaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                              Syzygium aromaticum (clove)MyrtaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                                              Syzygium cumini (black plum)MyrtaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                              Tabebuia heterophylla (pink trumpet tree)BignoniaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                                              • Matile-Ferrero and Étienne (2006)
                                                                                                                                              TamarindusFabaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                                              Tamarix (tamarisk)TamaricaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                                              Tectona grandis (teak)LamiaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                              Tephrosia (hoary-pea)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                Teramnus labialis (blue wiss)FabaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                                                • Matile-Ferrero and Étienne (2006)
                                                                                                                                                Terminalia catappa (Singapore almond)CombretaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                Terminalia mantalyCombretaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                                                TetraceraDilleniaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                Theobroma cacao (cocoa)MalvaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                Theobroma grandiflorum (cupuassu)MalvaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                  ThespesiaMalvaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                                                  Thespesia lampasMalvaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                  Thespesia populnea (portia tree)MalvaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                                                  Tithonia diversifolia (Mexican sunflower)AsteraceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                                                  Verbesina fastigiataUnknown
                                                                                                                                                  Vitis (grape)VitaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                                                  Vitis vinifera (grapevine)VitaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                  Xanthosoma (cocoyam)AraceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                    Zea mays (maize)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                    • Ezzat (1958)
                                                                                                                                                    ZinniaAsteraceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                                                    ZiziphusRhamnaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                                                    Ziziphus jujuba (common jujube)RhamnaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                                                    Ziziphus mauritiana (jujube)RhamnaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                    Ziziphus mucronataRhamnaceaeUnknown
                                                                                                                                                    Ziziphus spina-christi (Christ's thorn jujube)RhamnaceaeUnknown

                                                                                                                                                    Growth Stages

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

                                                                                                                                                    Symptoms

                                                                                                                                                    Top of page
                                                                                                                                                    The saliva that M. hirsutus injects into the host plant while feeding probably contains a substance that is phytotoxic (Williams, 1996). Host-plants differ in their susceptibility to the toxin. The more tolerant species tend to be infested at their growing points and in stem axils and infested new growth becomes stunted, with reduced internode extension and leaf expansion. Stunted stems may become swollen. In more sensitive plants, stunting is more marked and new growth forms cabbage-like clusters, with the mealybugs hidden in the creases of the growth. In highly susceptible plants, even brief probing of unexpanded leaves by crawlers causes severe crumpling of the leaves when they subsequently expand, while established infestation can cause total defoliation and even death of the whole plant. As the plant dies back from the tips, the mealybugs migrate to healthy tissue, so the colonies migrate from shoot tips to twigs to branches and finally down the trunk. Samanea saman is particularly severely affected.

                                                                                                                                                    It should be noted that the mealybug Paracoccus marginatus causes very similar damage on Hibiscus to that caused by M. hirsutus (Pollard, 1999).

                                                                                                                                                    List of Symptoms/Signs

                                                                                                                                                    Top of page
                                                                                                                                                    SignLife StagesType
                                                                                                                                                    Fruit / abnormal shape
                                                                                                                                                    Fruit / external feeding
                                                                                                                                                    Fruit / honeydew or sooty mould
                                                                                                                                                    Fruit / premature drop
                                                                                                                                                    Growing point / external feeding
                                                                                                                                                    Inflorescence / external feeding
                                                                                                                                                    Inflorescence / fall or shedding
                                                                                                                                                    Inflorescence / honeydew or sooty mould
                                                                                                                                                    Leaves / abnormal forms
                                                                                                                                                    Leaves / abnormal leaf fall
                                                                                                                                                    Leaves / external feeding
                                                                                                                                                    Leaves / honeydew or sooty mould
                                                                                                                                                    Leaves / wilting
                                                                                                                                                    Stems / external feeding
                                                                                                                                                    Stems / honeydew or sooty mould
                                                                                                                                                    Stems / stunting or rosetting

                                                                                                                                                    Biology and Ecology

                                                                                                                                                    Top of page
                                                                                                                                                    Local movement of M. hirsutus occurs at the first instar (crawler) stage. Crawlers are very small (0.3 mm long), light and can survive a day or so without feeding. They cannot walk far by themselves, but are ideally suited to transport by water, wind and animal agents including domestic animals and man. Misra (1920) recorded transport of M. hirsutus by nymphs of another mealybug species (Ferrisia virgata) in India. Accidental introductions to new countries apparently occur via infested plant material.

                                                                                                                                                    Once the crawler settles at a feeding site development continues; there are three immature instars in the female and four in the male. Crawlers settle in cracks and crevices, usually on new growth which becomes severely stunted and distorted, in which densely packed colonies develop; Kairo et al. (2000) describe the symptoms in detail. Reproduction is reported as mostly parthenogenetic in Egypt (Hall, 1921) and Bihar, India (Singh and Ghosh, 1970). In West Bengal, India, M. hirsutus is recorded as being biparental (Ghose, 1971b, 1972a) and it seems likely that populations in the West Indies are also biparental (Williams, 1996). Males are reported to have a pupal stage capable of locomotion (Bartlett, 1978).

                                                                                                                                                    The life cycle has been studied in India (Mani, 1989). Each adult female lays 150-600 eggs over a period of about one week, and these hatch in 6-9 days (Bartlett, 1978; Mani, 1989). A generation is completed in about five weeks in warm conditions (Bartlett, 1978) although Ghose (1972b) reports a generation time of as little as 23 days in the laboratory. In countries with a cool winter, the species survives cold conditions as eggs (Bartlett, 1978) or other stages, both on the host plant and in the soil (Pollard, 1995). There may be as many as 15 generations per year (Pollard, 1995). There are no figures reported on reproduction of M. hirsutus in the tropics (Williams, 1996).

                                                                                                                                                    Infestations of M. hirsutus are often associated with attendant ants (Ghose, 1970), which collect sugary honeydew from the mealybugs. Ants recorded attending M. hirsutus include Oecophylla sp., Iridomyrmex sp. and Solenopsis sp. (Williams and Watson, 1998) in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. Ant associations in India are given by Mani (1989).

                                                                                                                                                    Natural enemies

                                                                                                                                                    Top of page
                                                                                                                                                    Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
                                                                                                                                                    Alamella flava Parasite
                                                                                                                                                    Allotropa japonica Parasite
                                                                                                                                                    Anagyrus dactylopii Parasite Adults
                                                                                                                                                    Anagyrus kamali Parasite Adults Montes Rodríguez (2012)
                                                                                                                                                    Autoba silicula Predator Adults/Nymphs
                                                                                                                                                    Bothriocraera bicolor Parasite
                                                                                                                                                    Brinckochrysa scelestes Predator Adults/Nymphs
                                                                                                                                                    Brumoides suturalis Predator Adults/Nymphs Papua New Guinea
                                                                                                                                                    Cacoxenus multidentatus Parasite
                                                                                                                                                    Cryptolaemus montrouzieri Predator Adults/Eggs/Larvae/Nymphs/Pupae Egypt; India ornamental plants
                                                                                                                                                    Cycloneda sanguinea Predator
                                                                                                                                                    Domomyza perspicax Predator Adults/Nymphs
                                                                                                                                                    Eublemma gayneri Predator Adults/Nymphs
                                                                                                                                                    Eublemma trifasciata Predator Adults/Nymphs
                                                                                                                                                    Gyranusoidea indica Parasite Larvae Montes Rodríguez (2012)
                                                                                                                                                    Gyranusoidea mirzai Parasite
                                                                                                                                                    Harmonia axyridis Predator
                                                                                                                                                    Hyperaspis maindroni Predator Adults/Nymphs Papua New Guinea
                                                                                                                                                    Hyperaspis notata Predator
                                                                                                                                                    Laterospora phenacocca Pathogen Adults/Nymphs
                                                                                                                                                    Mallada boninensis Predator Adults/Nymphs
                                                                                                                                                    Nephus fijiensis Predator Adults/Nymphs Papua New Guinea Hibiscus
                                                                                                                                                    Pseudoscymnus pallidicollis Predator Adults/Nymphs Papua New Guinea
                                                                                                                                                    Scymnus coccivora Predator Adults/Eggs/Nymphs
                                                                                                                                                    Scymnus conformis Predator Adults/Nymphs Egypt ornamental plants
                                                                                                                                                    Spalgis epeus Predator Adults/Nymphs
                                                                                                                                                    Triommata coccidivora Predator Adults/Nymphs

                                                                                                                                                    Notes on Natural Enemies

                                                                                                                                                    Top of page
                                                                                                                                                    Kamal (1951), Ghose (1970), Beardsley (1985) and Mani (1989) mention at least 30 species of natural enemies of M. hirsutus from 11 families in six orders in India and Egypt, including parasitic Hymenoptera, predatory Heteroptera, Neuroptera, Lepidoptera, Diptera and Coleoptera. Ben-Dov and German (2003) list natural enemies of M. hirsutus.

                                                                                                                                                    The natural enemies of M. hirsutus that have been used successfully in biological control programmes are the predatory beetle Cryptolaemus montrouzieri and the hymenopteran endoparasitoids Anagyrus kamali and Gyranusoidea indica. In countries with cool winters, the predatory beetle Scymnus coccivora and the hymenopteran parasitoid Anagyrus dactylopii have been used.

                                                                                                                                                    Adult M. hirsutus can encapsulate and kill up to 60% of Anagyrus kamali eggs laid in them, but earlier instars of the mealybug are less able to defend themselves in this way. A. kamali attacks all stages of the mealybug but prefers adult females for oviposition (Sagarra and Vincent, 1999; Sagarra et al., 1999).

                                                                                                                                                    Means of Movement and Dispersal

                                                                                                                                                    Top of page
                                                                                                                                                    Natural dispersal

                                                                                                                                                    The dispersal stage of mealybugs is the first-instar crawler stage; these are often dispersed passively in the wind.

                                                                                                                                                    Vector transmission

                                                                                                                                                    Crawlers may also be carried passively by passing animals and people that brush past the host plant.

                                                                                                                                                    Agricultural practices

                                                                                                                                                    Cutting down infested plants aids dispersal by scattering the crawlers into the air, where the wind may cart 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.

                                                                                                                                                    Movement in trade

                                                                                                                                                    M. hirsutus can be transported over long distances by surface or air on ornamental or crop plant material (Dale and Maddison, 1984).

                                                                                                                                                    Pathway Vectors

                                                                                                                                                    Top of page
                                                                                                                                                    VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
                                                                                                                                                    Clothing, footwear and possessionsAir and surface transport of ornamental and crop plant material including flowers and fruit. Yes
                                                                                                                                                    Land vehiclesAir and surface transport of ornamental and crop plant material as cargo. Yes
                                                                                                                                                    Plants or parts of plants Yes
                                                                                                                                                    Containers and packaging - wood Yes

                                                                                                                                                    Plant Trade

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

                                                                                                                                                    Wood Packaging

                                                                                                                                                    Top of page
                                                                                                                                                    Wood Packaging liable to carry the pest in trade/transportTimber typeUsed as packing
                                                                                                                                                    Solid wood packing material with bark bark from infested hosts 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

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

                                                                                                                                                    Impact

                                                                                                                                                    Top of page

                                                                                                                                                    Williams (1996) summarizes records of damage caused by M. hirsutus. Almost all serious damage by the mealybug has been recorded between 7° and 30° North, where there are reports of seasonal differences in the incidence of the pest. Direct feeding on young growth (stems, leaves and flowers) causes severe stunting and distortion including crinkling of the leaves, thickening of stems and a bunchy-top appearance of shoots; in severe cases the leaves may fall. Honeydew and sooty mould contamination of fruit may reduce their value (Garland, 1998). In India, stunted and distorted growth caused by M. hirsutus in mulberry is known as Tukra disease (Rao et al., 1993) and is a problem in most of the silk producing areas (Tewari et al., 1994). It has been suggested that symptoms associated with M. hirsutus infestation may be due to a virus infection (on cacao in Zanzibar (de Lotto, 1967) and on mulberry in India (Tewari et al., 1994)).

                                                                                                                                                    Francois (1996) gave the estimated annual losses in Grenada due to M. hirsutus damage to crops and environment as US$ 3.5 million before biological controls were established. In the first few years of the mealybug problem in the Caribean, affected countries suffered serious loss of trade because other countries would not accept shipments of agricultural produce from them (Peters and Watson, 1999). In the period 1995-1998, Peters (1999) estimated the island's overall losses and costs at US$ 18.3 million, of which the control programme cost US$ 1.1 million (Kairo et al., 2000). Overall losses and costs to St Kitts in 1995-1997 were estimated by Francis (1999) as US$ 280,000, with an additional loss of trade estimated at US$ 22,000. For St Lucia, losses were estimated at US$ 67,000 (Anon., 1999), and for St Vincent and the Grenadines losses were estimated at US$ 3.4 million (Edwards, 1999). If the mealybug were to spread across the southern USA it is estimated that it could cause losses of US$ 750 million per year (Moffit, 1999).

                                                                                                                                                    Other crops seriously damaged by M. hirsutus include cotton in Egypt (Hall, 1921), with growth sometimes virtually halted; tree and herbaceum cotton in India (Dhawan et al., 1980; Muralidharan and Badaya, 2000), with reduction in yield; the fibre crops Hibiscus sabdariffa var. altissima (roselle), H. cannabinus (mesta) and Boehemeria nivea in West Bengal, India, and Bangladesh (Ghose, 1961, 1972b; Singh and Ghosh, 1970), with reduction in fibre yield of roselle of 21.4% reported by Ghose (1971a) and of 40% reported by Raju et al. (1988); grapes in India, with up to 90% of bunches destroyed in the Bangalore area (Manjunath, 1985) and heavily infested bunches made unfit for consumption or marketing (Vereesh, 1986); pigeonpea in India (Patel et al., 1990); Zizyphus mauritiana in India (Balikai and Bagali, 2000); ornamental Hibiscus in Papua New Guinea (Williams and Watson, 1988); and cacao in the Solomon Islands (Williams and Watson, 1988) and Grenada (Pollard, 1995).

                                                                                                                                                    In the Caribbean, damage has been reported on Annona spp., Spondias spp., okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), mango, sorrel (Hibiscus sabdariffa), Albizia saman and other ornamentals important to the tourist industry, and forest trees such as blue mahoe (Hibiscus elatus) and teak (Tectona grandis) (Pollard, 1995). Transport of fruit and vegetables between the Caribbean islands by entrepreneurs came to a virtual standstill with the imposition of quarantine restrictions on the importation of fresh produce into Trinidad (Pollard, 1995), although pre-export inspections have allowed imports from some affected countries to continue.

                                                                                                                                                    Experimental evidence suggests that Tukra-diseased leaves may be more nutritious to silkworms than normal leaves (Ahamed et al., 1999).

                                                                                                                                                    Environmental Impact

                                                                                                                                                    Top of page
                                                                                                                                                    In Grenada, severe devastation of natural habitats was seen, for example, in the Grand Etang area where a stand of 38 ha of blue mahoe (Hibiscus elatus) was destroyed (Peters and Watson, 1999; Kairo et al., 2000). This tree is dominant in the natural rainforest; if such devaststion had become widespread, the watersheds and soils of the island would have been threatened.

                                                                                                                                                    Social Impact

                                                                                                                                                    Top of page
                                                                                                                                                    In Grenada, where the infestation remained unchecked for over a year, the mealybug extensively devastated amenity plantings and landscaped gardens in hotels, resulting in serious losses to the tourist industry and people employed therein; cash crops also produced little or no return for 1-2 years, which impacted on farming income and agricultural trade (Peters and Watson, 1999). Such damage has a major impact on small island economies.

                                                                                                                                                    Diagnosis

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                                                                                                                                                    M. hirsutus can only be identified authoritatively by examination of slide-mounted adult females under a compound light microscope and use of taxonomic keys. The combination of 9-segmented antennae, anal lobe bars, numerous dorsal oral rim ducts on all parts of the body except the limbs and long, flagellate dorsal setae make the species fairly easy to recognize in parts of the world where other Maconellicoccus species do not occur, but careful microscopic examination is necessary in countries where other species of Maconellicoccus are known to be present. Watson and Chandler (2000) describe a method for preparation of slide mounts and provide a key for the identification of M. hirsutus in the Caribbean region. A taxonomic key to all the species of Maconellicoccus is provided by Williams (1996). Keys for the identification of immature stages of M. hirsutus are given by Miller (2001), and Gullan (2000) provides a key to immature stages of M. hirsutus and five other common mealybug pests.

                                                                                                                                                    Detection and Inspection

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                                                                                                                                                    Examine plant material, especially growing tips, for distorted, stunted, bunchy growths containing white woolly wax, tiny salmon-pink eggs, and sooty mould or sticky honeydew. The honeydew produced may attract attendant ants. The entire mealybug colony tends to become covered by white, sticky, elastic, woolly, wax ovisac material. When the sticky ovisac wax is parted with a needle, clusters of pink eggs and pink to grey females become visible. In heavier infestations, white masses of wax concealing mealybugs may occur in axils and on twigs and stems. Good light conditions are essential for examination; in poor light, a powerful flashlight is helpful. One of the commonest, favoured hosts of M. hirsutus is Hibiscus rosa-sinensis; this is a good host to monitor for early detection of the arrival of the pest.

                                                                                                                                                    Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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                                                                                                                                                    In parts of the world where other species of Maconellicoccus do not occur, slide-mounted adult females of M. hirsutus are fairly easy to recognize. Examination of slide-mounted material is advisable because some other species of mealybug are similar to M. hirsutus in appearance and damage caused, for example, Phenacoccus solenopsis and Paracoccus marginatus. P. marginatus differs from M. hirsutus in the field by having yellow body contents, not pink. When presevred in 80% alcohol, specimens of P. marginatus turn black in a matter of days, whereas M. hirsutus remain brown.

                                                                                                                                                    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.

                                                                                                                                                    Biological Control

                                                                                                                                                    Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, a native of Australia, has been used successfully to reduce large populations of M. hirsutus in Egypt, the Caribbean (Kairo et al., 2000), and India (Karnataka) (Mani and Krishnamoorthy, 2001). In Karnataka, India, on acid lime, two releases of 25 beetles per plant in January and February 1999 reduced the population of M. hirsutus to economically unimportant levels by mid-March (Mani and Krishnamoorthy, 1999); similarly, releases on guava reduced the mealybug population to insignificant levels within one month (Mani and Krishnamoorthy, 2001).

                                                                                                                                                    In Egypt, however, C. montrouzieri was unable to survive the cold of winter in sufficient numbers to be effective, and the main biological control agents there are the parasitoids Anagyrus kamali and Achrysopophagus sp. (Bartlett, 1978). In India, where grapes are grown in areas that may have quite a cold winter, the control agents used against M. hirsutus are the parasitoid Anagyrus dactylopii and the coccinellid predators Scymnus coccivora, S. conformis and S. gratiousus (Mani, 1989). Gowda and Manjunath (1998) reported that Hibiscus cannabinus was a suitable trap crop for M. hirsutus infesting mulberry in Mysore.

                                                                                                                                                    In Egypt, almost total control of the mealybug is maintained using the parasitoid Anagyrus kamali (Williams, 1996). This parasitoid has also been introduced to Grenada, Trinidad and some other Caribbean islands to control M. hirsutus (Pollard, 1995; Garland, 1998; Anon., 2000a; Michaud and Evans, 2000; Kairo et al., 2000). Pesticide spraying against disease vectors may reduce the natural enemy populations at times and allow a resurgence of the mealybug. Additional introductions of predators such as Cryptolaemus montrouzieri have been used on some Caribbean islands to reduce mealybug populations further (Gautam et al., 1996; Anon., 2000a). For biological control purposes, M. hirsutus can be reared in the laboratory on pumpkins, particularly those varieties with creases in the skin (Japanese pumpkin, Cucurbita moschata; acorn squash, Cucurbita pepo var. Turbinata) and on sprouting Irish potatoes (Mani, 1990; Meyerdirk, 1997; Serrano and Lapointe, 2002).

                                                                                                                                                    It has been found that damage to a territory newly invaded by M. hirsutus can be minimised if the pest can be identified quickly and biological control agents are introduced as soon as possible (Michaud and Evans, 2000; Kairo et al., 2000). The great success of the biological control programme against M. hirsutus in the Caribbean, using the predatory beetle Cryptolaemus montrouzieri and the hymenoptern endoparasitoids Anagyrus kamali and Gyranusoides indica, is largely attributable to these insects reproducing at least twice as fast as the mealybug (Persad and Khan, 2002; Meyerdirk and DeChi, 2005); populations were reduced by 82-97%, and the parasitoids were found to be effctive in tropical, subtropical and semi-desert conditions. Public awareness programmes were also important; public co-operation avoided heavy use of pesticides that might have impaired establishment of the biological control agents, and the public helped to disseminate the natural enemies (Kairo et al., 2000).

                                                                                                                                                    For Trinidad and Tobago, Singh (1999) estimated control costs of M. hirsutus in 1995-1997 to be US$ 5.1 million, while probable losses averted by control were estimated at US$ 41 million, giving a benefit:cost ratio of 8:1.

                                                                                                                                                    Colonies of M. hirsutus hidden in crevices amongst cabbage-like growths can be difficult or impossible for natural enemies to attack, especially for the larger coccinellid predators. This may limit the success of biological control agents in regulating pest populations because they cannot reach the mealybugs.

                                                                                                                                                    In Papua New Guinea, attendance by ants has been recorded to affect the level of attack of the mealybugs by parasitoids (Buckley and Gullan, 1991); the more aggressive the ant, the lower the level of parasitism observed. The effectiveness of natural enemies in regulating populations of M. hirsutus can be increased if ants attending the mealybugs can be controlled (Greve and Ismay, 1983).

                                                                                                                                                    Host-Plant Resistance

                                                                                                                                                    In Egypt, the grape varieties Romi and Banati were found to be susceptible to attack by M. hirsutus, with the variety Moscati being the most tolerant and least affected (Amin and Emam, 1996).

                                                                                                                                                    Chemical Control

                                                                                                                                                    Mani (1989) mentions that sticky banding such as 'tanglefoot'; has been used in India to protect grape bunches from infestation by M. hirsutus.

                                                                                                                                                    Pesticide sprays tend to be of limited effectiveness against M. hirsutus because of its habit of hiding in crevices, and the waxy covering of its body (Williams, 1996); systemic insecticides are more likely to be effective. Mani (1989) states that most granular insecticides are ineffective against M. hirsutus. Any pesticide used against M. hirsutus should be carefully selected to avoid injury to its natural enemies, because they are likely to be important in helping to keep populations at low levels in the long term. The first-instar stage is most susceptible to pesticide treatments (Persad and Khan, 2000); however, the same study found that all the pesticides tested were highly toxic to the main biological control agent, Anagyrus kamali.

                                                                                                                                                    In India, there is some evidence of pesticide resistance developing (Mani, 1989), so pesticides are only used to control heavy infestations of the mealybug; populations are subsequently maintained at low levels by biological control.

                                                                                                                                                    Inorganic oil emulsion sprays gave good control of M. hirsutus on guava in Tamil Nadu, India (Jaluddin and Sadakathulla, 1998). Anitha et al. (1999) tested the alkaloid abrine, isolated from seeds of Abrus precatorius, on M. hirsutus and found evidence that abrine could have a drastic effect on the population density of the mealybug.

                                                                                                                                                    IPM Programmes

                                                                                                                                                    In India, the main biological control agents used to regulate M. hirsutus on grapes are the parasitoid Anagyrus dactylopii and the predators Scymnus coccivora and S. gratiosus, as part of an integrated pest management regime involving pesticide use if the mealybug populations reach a high level (Mani, 1989).

                                                                                                                                                    In India, integrated pest management using both coccinellid beetle predators and pesticides (chlorpyrifos) has been achieved on grapes (Mani, 1989).

                                                                                                                                                    The M. hirsutus invasion of the Caribbean region has resulted in several long-term benefits, including strengthening of plant quarantine, development of taxonomic expertise in the region, development of export protocols, development of a capacity for biological control and reduction in the use of toxic pesticides, creating a suitable environment for the development of integrated pest management (Kairo et al., 2000).

                                                                                                                                                    Phytosanitary Measures

                                                                                                                                                    Garland (1998) recommends a fumigant for use against M. hirsutus on plants in greenhouses in Canada. Since its appearance in the Caribbean region in 1994/1995, M. hirsutus is regarded as of high quarantine importance by the CPPC. If regulation is required, planting material of host-plant species of M. hirsutus 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 fresh plant material from an infested country to one that is not yet infested but could be, should be examined thoroughly to detect M. hirsutus.

                                                                                                                                                    References

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