First report of Vinsonia stellifera in Germany
The NPPO of Germany recently informed the EPPO Secretariat of the first report of Vinsonia stellifera (Hemiptera: Coccidae – stellate scale) on its territory. In February 2011, this scale species was found on leaves of Schefflera plants growing in a tropical glasshouse near Berlin. This glasshouse contains various plant species and is open to the general public. The identification of the pest was made on the basis of morphological characters. Official control measures have been taken and include: regular inspections of the glasshouse, biological control measures, and mechanical elimination of all specimens. So far, the infestation was restricted to a few plants of Schefflera.
The pest status of Vinsonia stellifera in Germany is officially declared as: Transient, only in one area, actionable, under eradication.
V. stellifera is a very polyphagous scale which is usually observed feeding on plant foliage. In the literature there are no records of serious damage caused by this scale species, although the honeydew it produces can cause sooty mould on leaves (thus reducing photosynthesis and aesthetic value of ornamentals). V. stellifera occurs in many tropical and subtropical countries on a wide range of ornamentals and fruit trees (e.g. Agave, Allamanda, Asplenium, Areca catechu, Cocos nucifera, Ficus, Garcinia, Gardenia, Ixora, Mangifera indica, Manilkara zapota, Musa, Persea americana, Osmunda, Phoenix, Orchidaceae, Schefflera, Zyzygium). V. stellifera has a round body covered with transparent or slightly translucent wax developed into 6 or 7 radiating arms giving the insect the appearance of a star (hence the name stellate scale). The size of the adult female varies from 3 to 5 mm across the rays. Live adults are pink to purplish-red. Young stages are light green to yellow in colour. The life history of this species is poorly known.
Pictures can be viewed on the Internet: http://www.sel.barc.usda.gov/scalekeys/softscales/key/soft_scales/media/html/species/46vins_stellifera/4Vins_stelliferaHabitus.html
Tentative geographical distribution of V. stellifera:
EPPO region: Germany (transient, see above). This scale was intercepted in the Netherlands in 1985 on Epidendrum plants imported from Guyana.
Africa: Angola, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya, Mauritius, Reunion, Sao Tome & Principe, Seychelles, Tanzania (including Zanzibar).
North America: USA (Alabama, Florida, Georgia).
Central American and the Caribbean: Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cuba, Grenada, Guatemala, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, Virgin Islands (US).
South America: Brazil (Para, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, Sao Paulo), Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Venezuela.
Asia: India (Karnataka, Kerala, West Bengal), Indonesia (Irian Jaya), Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Viet Nam.
Oceania: Australia (Northern Territory), Guam, Micronesia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga.
NPPO of Germany (2012-02).
Blackwood JS, Pratt PD (2007) New host and expanded geographical range of stellate scale, Vinsonia stellifera (Hemiptera: Coccidae: Ceroplastinae). Florida Entomologist 90(2), 413-414.
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Martorell LF (1959) Preliminary report on orchid pests in Puerto Rico. University of Puerto Rico. Agricultural Experiment Station, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. Miscellaneous Publication no. 25, 9 pp.
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- Florida Department of Agriculture and consumer Services. Pest Alert. Stellate scale, Vinsonia stellifera (Westwood) Coccoidea: Coccidae by G. Hodges (dated 2004). http://www.freshfromflorida.com/pi/pest-alerts/vinsonia-stellifera.html
- ScaleNet. Vinsonia stellifera. http://scalenet.info/validname/Vinsonia/stellifera/
- USDA-ARS. Systematic Entomology Laboratory. Beltsville. http://www.sel.barc.usda.gov/scalekeys/softscales/key/soft_scales/media/html/species/46vins_stellifera/1vins_stelliferadesc.html