Lecanoideus floccissimus: new whitefly pest in Tenerife (Spain)
The spiralling whitefly, Aleurodicus dispersus, was reported for the first time in 1965 in the Canary Islands (Spain). It is now a minor polyphagous pest which can be found on various fruit crops (banana, mangoes, avocados, guavas) and many ornamental species (mainly Arecaceae, Musaceae and Moraceae), on five of the seven Canary islands (Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Gomera). However, since 1991, in the southern coast of Tenerife, a significant increase of whitefly problems was seen particularly on ornamental plants, and this was at first attributed to A. dispersus. As some differences were observed, taxonomic studies were carried out and revealed that a new species Lecanoideus floccissimus (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae) was involved. L. floccissimus also produces large amounts of white waxy secretions and honeydew (on which sooty moulds can develop) which can affect the vigour of the plant and its commercial value, particularly for ornamentals. It is a polyphagous species which can be found on several species of Arecaceae (including coconut) and Musaceae (including banana, Strelitzia), and also various other plants such as: papaya (Carica papaya), sour orange (Citrus aurantium), Euphorbia pulcherrima, Ficus spp., Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, mango (Mangifera indica), guava (Psidium guajava), oleander (Nerium oleander), etc. The authors felt that this pest may have come from Central or South America, as the species was also described on unidentified plant material from Ecuador, in addition to material from Tenerife.
Hernández-Suarez, E.; Carnero, A.; Hernández, M.; Beitia, F.; Alsonso, C. (1997) Lecanoideus floccissimus (Homoptera, Aleyrodidae) Nueva plaga en las Islas Canarias.
Phytoma-España, no. 91, 35-48.