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Scientific Notes


the natural environment of southern Florida is not clear. We have observed heavy infestations on young West Indies mahogany seedlings, indicat- ing that this scale insect is potentially a nursery pest. Although heavy infestations of mature trees appeared to have resulted in death of branches in only a few cases, possibly long-term infestations could result in serious damage or curtailment of growth. West Indies mahogany is a native tree in hammocks in the Florida Everglades and on the Florida Keys. It is listed as a threatened species in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Although its wild populations have been di- minishing, it is one of the most popular shade trees planted in urban areas of southern Florida. Honduras mahogany has replaced West Indies mahogany as the most important tropical timber tree in the world (Mayhew & Newton 1998). Un- der different conditions, Honduras mahogany could possibly be more susceptible to this scale in- sect than our observations indicated.

Parasitoid exit holes were observed in about 5- 8% of the scale coverings of mature female C. cor- diae in samples from three sites in Broward County. Five specimens of a minute wasp were reared from C. cordiae in the laboratory. This spe- cies was identified as Marietta sp. (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) by the third author. We have initi- ated studies to elucidate the biology and ecology of C. cordiae and develop management options for it.

We propose the vernacular name “West Indies mahogany scale” for C. cordiae. This name re- flects that West Indies mahogany appears to be a major host of this insect, that there are no other scale insects consistently found on this tree spe- cies, and that the scale insect itself is native to the West Indies.

Fig. 1. West Indies mahogany scale, Conchaspis cordiae Mamet. (a) close-up of infestation on bark of West Indies mahogany, Swietenia mahagoni Jacquin, showing scale covers of mature females; (b) mature fe- male mounted on microscope slide; the presence of func- tional legs in the adult female distinguishes most Conchaspididae from Diaspididae.

which was described from specimens collected in Miami on pigeonplum, Coccoloba diversifolia Jac- quin (Williams 1992) and is not reported outside the type locality.

Previously, scale insects were rarely found on West Indies mahogany in Florida. The potential impact of this new pest on urban landscapes and

We thank Dr. Douglass R. Miller, Systematic Entomology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Agri- culture, Beltsville, MD, for providing Caribbean records of C. cordiae, and the following University of Florida, IFAS, personnel: Bryan Steinberg and Sergio Gallo for field and laboratory assistance, and Drs. Rudolph Scheffrahn and Timothy Broschat for reviewing the manuscript.


Conchaspis cordiae Mamet (Hemiptera: Con- chaspididae) is reported for the first time in Flor- ida and the Continental U.S. and found to be widely distributed in the urban areas of south- eastern Florida. West Indies mahogany (Swiete- nia mahagoni) and a mahogany hybrid (S. macrophylla × S. mahagoni) apparently are pre- ferred hosts. Honduras mahogany (S. macro- phylla) and African mahogany (Khaya nyasica) were marginal hosts. Marietta sp. (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) was identified as a parasitoid of this species.

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