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Florida Entomologist 89(1)

March 2006


F. W. HOWARD1, G. S. HODGES2 AND MICHAEL W. GATES 3 1University of Florida, IFAS, Fort Lauderdale Research & Education Center 3205 College Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314

2Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry Florida State Collection of Arthropods, PO Box 147100, Gainesville, FL 32614

3USDA-ARS-PSI-SEL, PO Box 37012, c/o Smithsonian Institution, NMNH, MRC 168, Washington DC, 20013-7012

We report for the first time the presence in Florida and the continental United States of Con- chaspis cordiae Mamet (Hemiptera: Sternorrhyn- cha: Conchaspididae) (Fig. 1), an adventive scale insect species from the West Indies.

Conchaspis cordiae was described by Mamet (1954) from specimens collected in 1919 on black sage (Cordia sp.), and in 1917 from “mahogany” on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. It was reported also from West Indies mahogany (Swietenia ma- hagoni Jacquin) and seagrape (Coccoloba uvifera

  • L.

    ) in the Dominican Republic (Panis and Martin

    • 1976)

      , and has been collected in Puerto Rico and

Haiti (Douglass R. Miller, personal communica- tion). It has not been reported as a pest, and noth- ing is known about its biology.

Florida Department of Agriculture and Con- sumer Services inspector Ms. Lynda Davis made the first U.S. collection of C. cordiae on West In- dies mahogany on November 26, 2003, in Hialeah (Miami-Dade County, FL). On February 8, 2005, Ms. Jeanette Wofford, Arborist, Department of Public Works, Cooper City, FL, called the atten- tion of the senior author to extensive infestations of scale insects on West Indies mahoganies in Cooper City. Specimens collected from both these cities were identified as C. cordiae by the second author.

Having determined that it was possibly a seri- ous pest, we conducted a preliminary survey in urban areas from Miami-Dade County to a site about 70 km north of this in southern Palm Beach County, examining West Indies mahoganies from the ground at 16 sites where at least 10 of these trees were in close proximity. Infested branches as high as 8 m from the ground were pruned with a pruning pole for obtaining specimens. Trees with infestations that we could not see or collect specimens from, i.e., restricted to branches higher than 8 m, were thus excluded from the survey. Specimens of C. cordiae from each locality were mounted on microscope slides and their identifi- cations confirmed by the second author.

Based on these observations, at least one West Indies mahogany was infested with C. cordiae at

62.5% of the northernmost

16 sites examined,



including the southernmost

(25°45’N) and the easternmost and westernmost sites (80°07’W and 80°25’W, respectively) (Table 1).

To compare West Indies mahogany and sev- eral closely related species as potential hosts of this scale insect, we examined mature trees of species in the family Meliaceae at the Fort Lau- derdale Research and Education Center in Davie, FL. These included 196 West Indies mahoganies, and trees interspersed with them including 14 Honduras mahoganies (S. macrophylla King), 29 mahogany hybrids (S. macrophylla × S. ma- hagoni), four African mahoganies (Khaya nyasica [Stapf} ex Baker f.), two tropical-cedars (Cedrela odorata L.), and two neem trees (Azadirachta in- dica A. Jussieu).

These observations provided two indications that West Indies mahoganies and the S. macro- phylla × mahagoni hybrid are preferred hosts: (1) Infestations were found on 40.8% of the West In- dies mahoganies, and 41.3% of the S. macrophylla × mahagoni hybrids, compared with 14.2% of the Honduras mahoganies, and (2) Large patches of dense populations of up to 30 mature female C. cordiae per cm2 along with numerous first and second instars were visible on branches of most of the infested West Indies mahoganies and the macrophylla × mahagoni hybrids. In contrast, in- festations on Honduras mahoganies were sparse and consisted of relatively few individuals per tree. One of the African mahoganies was lightly infested. No scale insects were found on Spanish- cedar or neem trees.

Conchaspis cordiae was observed on bark and not on other plant parts such as leaves or fruit capsules. Infestations were concentrated on twigs and branches up to about 6 cm in dia. Only occa- sional scale insects were observed on larger branches and main trunks, where they occurred in bark fissures.

Conchaspididae with about 30 described spe- cies is a small tropical family related to Diaspid- idae. Previously, two species have been reported in Florida: (1) Conchaspis angraeci Cockerell, na- tive to the Caribbean and found on orchids and other ornamental plants (Merrill & Chaffin 1923), and (2) Asceloconchaspis milleri Williams,

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