Notes on taxonomy and nomenclature: C. ceriferus, commonly known as the Indian wax scale, was originally described by Fabricius in 1798 from specimens collected in India, probably from Maytenus emarginatus. Signoret (1869) erroneously ascribed the authorship of C. ceriferus to Anderson which was followed by subsequent workers. De Lotto (1971) presented a critical account on the nomenclature and proved that the authorship should be credited to Fabricius and not to Anderson. The nomenclature and synonyms are discussed in detail by Ben-Dov (1993)
English: Indian wax scale, Indian white wax scale, Japanese wax scale
Germany: Indische wachs-schildlaus
USA: Chinese wax scale, Mexican wax scale
Bayer computer code: CERPCE
EU Annex designation: No status.
C. ceriferus is highly polyphagous, attacking more than 122 plant species placed in 46 families (Kosztarab, 1996). It attacks a wide range of crops, mostly fruit crops and ornamentals, including crab-apple, avocado, citrus, coffee, holly, Japanese maple, Japanese persimmon, jujube, longan, mango, mulberry, plum, rambutan, spindle and tea (see Ben-Dov, 1993)
Primary hosts: Camellia sinensis (tea), Populus deltoides (black poplar of eastern North America)
Italy (reported for the first time in 2001 in Lombardia and Veneto on various ornamentals). C. ceriferus has been intercepted by the Netherlands in 1999 and 2000, on Ficus and Podocarpus from Taiwan.
Asia: Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.
Africa: Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda.
North America: Mexico, USA (present in many states)
Central & South America, Caribbean: Brazil, Chile, Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands.
Oceania: Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Guam, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Tonga, Vanuatu
In north-eastern North America, C. ceriferus has one generation a year and overwinters as adult females. It is parthenogenetic and during April to June, each female produces 1000 or more eggs, which hatch after 2 or 3 weeks. The females have three nymphal stages and adults are found in late summer and early autumn (Kosztarab, 1996). Only the first instars are capable of locomotion because they seek out a suitable feeding site. Other stages are sessile. In northern Guizhou, China, C. ceriferus overwinters as a first instar and becomes active in the following April. Adults appear in July and early August and produce eggs in August. The eggs hatch in early September to mid October (Lai, 1993). Males have been reported in Japan (Kuwana, 1923) and the USA (Smith et al., 1971).
Itioka and Inoue (1991) found that C. ceriferus nymphs on citrus significantly preferred to settle on 1- and 2-year-old twigs rather than on new and 3-year-old twigs. The survival rate on the preferred twigs was significantly higher than on the 3-year-old twigs, but slightly lower than on the new twigs. The most important mortality factor was growth cessation which is believed to be related to food quality. Natural enemies were minor mortality factors.
Detection and identification
Infestations of C. ceriferus occur on the foliage, stems and branches. This results in reduced vigour and general debility of the host plant. Heavy infestations may cause chlorotic spotting on the leaves (which may be shed prematurely), dieback of stems and wilting. On poplar, discoloration of the bark occurs at the feeding site, producing irregular patches about 1 cm in diameter (Sivaramakrishnan, 1986). The infested bark peels off. In addition to the direct feeding damage, the honeydew deposited on the leaves and fruit serves as a medium for the growth of black sooty moulds. The sooty mould results in a reduction of photosynthetic area and lowers the market value of ornamental plants and produce.
In life, mature adult females of C. ceriferus are covered with thick, white, amorphous wax; hemispherical, normally with an anteriorly projecting horn of wax and up to 12 mm in length and 10 mm in width. Immature females and males are illustrated by Gimpel et al. (1974).
Authoritative identification involves detailed microscopic examination of slide-mounted teneral adult females. Morphological descriptions and illustrations of the adult female are given by De Lotto (1971), Gimpel et al. (1974), Hamon and Williams (1984), Williams and Watson (1990), Tang (1991) and Kosztarab (1996). The adult male is described and illustrated by Gimpel et al. (1974). A key to Ceroplastes species that occur in north-eastern North America is given by Kosztarab (1996), in Florida (USA) by Hamon and Williams (1984), in the tropical South Pacific by Williams and Watson (1990), in China by Tang (1991) and in Japan by Kawai (1980).
C. ceriferus should be distinguished from the closely related C. pseudoceriferus which occurs in Asia. C. ceriferus has about 10 marginal setae between the anterior stigmatic setae and about three marginal setae between the anterior and posterior stigmatic setae, whereas C. pseudoceriferus has about 40 and 10 marginal setae, respectively (Gimpel et al., 1974).
Heavy infestations are conspicuous because of the white adult females which contrast in colour with the host plant. The foliage, fruit and stems of the plant become covered in sticky honeydew which serves as a medium for black sooty moulds.
Means of movement and dispersal
Like other soft scales, the first instar is the main dispersal stage of C. ceriferus; it can be naturally dispersed by wind and animals. All stages may be carried on consignments of plant material and produce.
C. ceriferus is an important pest of ornamental plants in North America because it attacks such a wide variety of species and damaging populations can build up rapidly (Kosztarab, 1996). The appearance of the plant is ruined, not only because of the presence of large numbers of conspicuous waxy scales, but also because of the sooty mould which grows on the copious quantities of honeydew excreted by the insects. Sooty mould blocks light and air from the leaves and impairs photosynthesis. C. ceriferus is also a pest of tea in northern Guizhou, China (Lai, 1993), of poplars in Karnataka, India (Sivaramakrishnan, 1986) and a minor pest of avocado in Queensland, Australia (Smith, 1973).
Application of quinalphos and phoxim or methamidophos resulted in 95% control of C. ceriferus on tea in China (Lai, 1993). Carbofuran was found to be the most effective granular systemic insecticide for control of C. ceriferus on camellia in the USA (Nash, 1973).
All life stages may be carried on consignments of plant material and produce. C. ceriferus is often injurious to crops and ornamental plants, especially when introduced into new geographical areas without natural enemies.
To be completed after PRM
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