Bombacoccus aguacatae Kondo, 2010

Kondo, Takumasa, 2010, Description of a new coccid (Hemiptera, Coccidae) on avocado (Persea americana Mill.) from Colombia, South America, ZooKeys 42 (42), pp. 37-45 : 41-44

publication ID 10.3897/zookeys.42.377

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Bombacoccus aguacatae Kondo

sp. n.

Bombacoccus aguacatae Kondo , sp. n.

Figs 1, 2

Description, adult female (measurements based on n=18). Insects in life. Dorsum of young adult females covered by a white cottony wax, with a broad marginal fringe of cottony wax. The cottony wax is gradually replaced by a powdery white wax in older specimens (Fig. 1A–E), and eventually the wax completely wears out. Insect after removal of wax, yellow-green to greenish brown in color, but older specimens becoming dark brown.

Mounted material. Adult female, oval to elongate oval in outline, 4.2–10.0 mm long, 3.8–8.2 mm wide.

Dorsum. Derm membranous, becoming sclerotized in old specimens. Body setae sharply spinose, straight or slightly bent, each 12.5–20.0 µm long, scattered over dorsum, but abundant on mid-dorsum on area anterior to anal plates. Simple pores each 5.0–6.0 µm wide. Preopercular pores oval in shape, each 6.3–12.5 µm wide, convex, present in a large group anterior to anal plates and extending onto mid-dorsum. Dorsal microducts each 5.0 µm wide, evenly distributed throughout dorsum, densely distributed particularly in younger specimens, but less dense in older specimens due to dilation of derm. Anal plates each triangular in shape, located at about 1/4 of body length from posterior margin, each plate 240–265 µm long, 125–150 µm wide, anterolateral margin 160–175 µm long, posterolateral margin 165–200 µm long. Each plate with 5–7 dorsal apical setae, about 4 ventral subapical setae, 2 fringe setae and 12 hypopygial setae. In older specimens, a sclerotized area about half the width of the anal plates or wider is formed around the anal plates. Anal ring with 10 setae, translucent pores in 2 irregular rows. Margin. Marginal setae sharply spinose, straight or with bent tips, each 22.5–42.5 µm long, arranged in an irregular single row around body margin, with 9–14 marginal setae between anterior and posterior stigmatic spines. Stigmatic spines totaling 3; median spine each 22.5–37.5 µm long, lateral spines each 15.0– 32.5 µm long; median seta often longest. Eyespots not detected. Venter. Ventral derm membranous. Ventral body setae sharply spinose, each 12.5–22.5 µm long, with 3 pairs of long prevulvar setae, each 50–100 µm long. Submarginal setae in one row, similar to rest of ventral body setae. Interantennal setae totaling 6. Antennae reduced, total length 120– 230 µm long, each 4–6 segmented. Clypeolabral shield 295–340 µm wide; labium

Figure |. Bombacoccus aguacatae Kondo , sp. n. A Young adult female B, C Older adult female with cottony wax D Older adult female with powdery wax E Old adult female beginning to lose its wax F Left. Old adult females. Right. Larva of a predatory syrphid fly G Adult female being visited by Pheidole sp. ant H Sooty mould on an avocado fruit I Sooty mould on leaves of avocado plant. Photo 1.A by A.A. Ramos- Portilla; Photos 1.B–I by T. Kondo.

with 4 pairs of setae. Legs reduced: total length 160–275 µm long; prothoracic legs generally shortest. Tarsal digitules each pointed; claw digitules knobbed; claw without a denticle. Spiracles large, anterior peritreme each 150–240 µm wide, posterior peritreme each 175–275 µm wide. Spiracular pores with 5 loculi, each 6.0–7.0 µm wide; spiracular pore band about same width as peritreme but widening medially, each pore band reaching margins. Tubular ducts absent. Perivulvar pores with 5 loculi, each pore 7.0–8.0 µm wide, abundant, present ventrad to anal plates. Ventral microducts each with duct rim 4.0 µm wide, fairly abundant, scattered throughout venter.

Biology. The insects were found on the tree branches and twigs of avocados of two varieties. Tiny parasitic wasps have been found to emerge from the body of old females and a species of syrphid fly ( Diptera : Syrphidae ) larvae have been found feeding on the coccid nymphs (Fig. 1F). Insects were observed being tended by Pheidole ants (Fig. 1G). Sooty moulds regularly grow on their excreted honeydew covering the branches, leaves and fruit (Figs 1H and I).

Distribution. Neotropical region. Colombia.

Host plants. Lauraceae : Persea americana Mill. Collected on the varieties Booth 8 and Hass.

Material studied. Holotype: Colombia, Caldas, Anserma, vereda Palo Blanco, Finca Yarumalito , 05°14'36.5"N, 75°45'46.2"W, 1910 m asl, 2.iv.2009, coll. T. Kon- GoogleMaps

do, ex Persea americana , var. Booth 8, adult ♀, 1(1) ( UNCB). Paratypes: same data as holotype, 16(16: 9 adult females + 2 second-instars + 21 first-instar nymphs) ( USNM) GoogleMaps ; same data as Holotype, but on P. americana , var. Hass, 27 slides (8 adult females + 16 third-instar nymphs + 5 second-instar nymphs + 2 first-instar nymphs) GoogleMaps .

Notes. Bombacoccus aguacatae sp. n. is the only known soft scale insect (family Coccidae ) in Colombia with a dorsum covered in a white cottony or powdery wax. Most soft scales of the Toumeyella -group are covered by a thin layer of wax; however, a few species in North America are also covered either by a cottony wax, e.g., Pseudophilippia quaintancii Cockerell which occurs in the eastern USA and is covered by a profusion of fluffy, snow white wax ( Hamon and Williams 1984); Neolecanium cornuparvum (Thro) , also occurring in the eastern USA, which ie usually covered in a white bloom or mealy wax ( Hamon and Williams 1984); and one other species from Mexico, Neotoumeyella leucaenae (Cockerell) which has been reported to be somewhat covered with small patches of dull white waxy secretion ( Cockerell 1903). Bombacoccus aguacatae can be easily separated from P. quaintancii by the following features (morphological features of P. quaintancii in parentheses): (i) preopercular pores present (absent); (ii) dorsal microducts not invaginated (invaginated); and (iii) stigmatic setae present (absent). Bombacoccus aguacatae resembles also N. cornuparvum and N. leucaenae , however, B. aguacatae can be easily separated from these two species by the presence of ventral tubular ducts in the perivulvar region of N. cornuparvum and N. leucaenae , whereas Bombacoccus aguacatae completely lacks ventral tubular ducts.


Tavera, Department of Geology and Geophysics


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History