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Common name:Citrophilus mealybug
Scientific name:Pseudococcus calceolariae
Alternative common names:
Scarlet mealybug and Currant mealybug.
Citrophilus mealybug feeds on the phloem of deciduous and evergreen plants in warm, temperate climates. They are often hidden from view, and cannot be seen without cutting open the fruit.
Where does this species come from?Western Australia
What is its invasive status in South Africa?NEMBA category 1b
Where in South Africa is it a problem?Western Cape Province (Caledon, Ceres, Elgin, Langkloof, Villiersdorp, Vyeboom, Botrivier and Riviersonderend).
How does it spread?The nymphs are the main means of spread within an orchard where they can be dispersed by wind, animals or workers. New infestations can be caused by moving infested fruit, nursery stock or as hitchhikers on animals and workers.
Why is it a problem?Extract plant sap, reducing tree vigour and production, and secrete large amounts of honeydew — an exudate high in sugar that encourages development of sooty mould.
What does it look like?Description: Body oval; slightly rounded in lateral view; dark in colour, red when crushed ostiole fluid red; mealy wax covering body, usually thick enough to hide body colour except on intersegmental lines with longitudinal lines on dorsum formed by bare areas occurring in sub medial and sub marginal areas, ovisac ventral only; with 17 lateral wax filaments, most relatively short, straight except posterior pair which may be slightly curved, posterior pair longest, about 1/4 length of body. Habitat: Citrophilus mealybug is usually found in protected sites such as crevices on branches or the calyx of fruit. Breeding: Eggs are laid in groups of up to 500 in egg sacs and three to four generations can occur throughout the year.