First report of Takahashia japonica in Italy
Takahashia japonica (Hemiptera: Coccidae) was reported for the first time in Italy (and in Europe) in 2017. In May 2017, an outbreak of an unknown soft scale species was first observed on the trunk and branches of Morus nigra trees growing in the communal park of Cerro Maggiore (Milano province, Lombardia region). The species was identified morphologically as T. japonica. Further investigations detected the pest in other municipalities in the Milano province (Legnano, Rescaldina, San Giorgio su Legnano and Canegrate), in 3 municipalities in Varese province (Castellanza, Busto Arsizio and Saronno), and one in Monza e Brianza province (Monza). Infestations are easily observed when females produce characteristic long, string-like, looped ovisacs, hanging from the bark (hence its common names ‘cotton stringy scale’, ‘string cottony scale’). T. japonica is native to the Far East. It was described from Japan on Morus sp. It is now also recorded in China (Hunan, Shanxi), India (Uttar Pradesh), and South Korea. It is polyphagous on deciduous woody plants. In Italy, T. japonica was collected on the following host plants: Acer pseudoplatanus, Albizia julibrissin, Carpinus betulus, Celtis australis, Liquidambar styraciflua and Morus nigra. Of these, the first four plant species are new hosts of T. japonica compared to its native range. First observations suggest that the scale has been present for several years and may have been introduced with new tree plantations. Further studies will be conducted to clarify the biology of this species and its impact.
Limonta L, Pellizzari G (2018) First record of the string cottony scale Takahashia japonica in Europe and its establishment in Northern Italy. Bulletin of Insectology 71(1), 159–160. http://www.bulletinofinsectology.org/pdfarticles/vol71-2018-159-160limonta.pdf
Defra (2019-03-05) Plant Pest Factsheet. Cotton stringy scale insect Takahashia japonica, 3 pp.