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Publication #EENY-370

False-Mastic Psylla, Ceropsylla sideroxyli Riley (Insecta: Hemiptera: Psyllidae)1

Frank W. Mead2


Leaves of the false-mastic tree (Sideroxylon foetidissimum Jacq.) commonly are attacked by a jumping plant louse, Ceropsylla sideroxyli Riley. Damage is often severe, but since the host itself is not highly commercialized, little attention has been given to control methods.

Figure 1. 

New adult false-mastic psylla, Ceropsylla sideroxyli Riley, emerging from a pupal case.


Lyle J. Buss, UF/IFAS

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


This psyllid was originally described from Lake Worth, Florida, in 1885 by C.V. Riley. Since then it has been reported from other localities in southern Florida, principally along the Atlantic seaboard from Cape Canaveral south to Key West as well as in Zacatula, Guerrero, and Esmerelda, Chiapas, Mexico. Most of the Florida localities are taken from records in the files of the Division of Plant Industry.


Psyllid nymphs are found on the underside of a leaf, embedded in small, scattered, cup-shaped excavations, which on the upper side of the leaf appear as rough, elevated pustules. A white waxlike (not flocculent) excretion covers the dorsal surface of the nymphs and makes them very conspicuous.

Figure 2. 

Nymphs of the false-mastic psylla, Ceropsylla sideroxyli Riley.


Lyle J. Buss, UF/IFAS

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 3. 

Nymph (left) and a pit (right), from which it was removed, of a false-mastic psylla, Ceropsylla sideroxyli Riley.


Lyle J. Buss, UF/IFAS

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Adult psyllids of this species are 4 mm long to tip of folded wings. Their general color is green to yellow. The front of head, between antennae, including genal (=cheek) processes, the anterior 2/3 of prescutum and two broad stripes on scutum (=back), are dark brown. The antennae are dark apically. The wings are hyaline (glassy or transparent).

Figure 4. 

Adult false-mastic psylla, Ceropsylla sideroxyli Riley.


Lyle J. Buss, UF/IFAS

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Microscopic characters of the head and wings are used to separate this psyllid from other species. No other closely related species is known from Florida. In fact, Arnett (2000) lists this species as the only member of its genus in America north of Mexico.

Host Plant

The host plant species, Sideroxylon foetidissimum, ranges from southern Florida, including the Florida Keys, north to the eastern coast to Cape Canaveral (Little 1953). It also is found in the West Indies (including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands), and a variety is found in Yucatan peninsula of Mexico and Belize. The USDA Plant database lists Florida as the only state that has this species (USDA 2006).

Figure 5. 

Infestation of the false-mastic psylla, Ceropsylla sideroxyli Riley.


Lyle J. Buss, UF/IFAS

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 6. 

Range of Sideroxylon foetidissimum in Florida.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Little (1953) lists mastic and wild olive as other common names and gives Sideroxylon mastichodendron and Mastichodendron foetidissimum as synonyms. The specific epithet refers to the very ill-smelling, cheese-like odor of the numerous flowers.

This psyllid also attacks other Sideroxylon (Sapotaceae) species (Percy 2005).

Selected References

Arnett Jr RH. 2000. American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico. CRC Press. Boca Raton. 1003 pp.

Gann GD, Abdo ME, Gann JW, Gann GD Sr., Woodmansee SW, Bradley KA, Verdon E, Hines KN. (2006). Wild mastic, False mastic. Natives For Your Neighborhood. The Institute for Regional Conservation, Miami. (April 2015).

Little EL, Jr. 1953. Check list of native and naturalized trees of the United States. USDA Agr. Handbook 41: 405.

Percy DM. (2005). Psyllids of Economic Importance. Psyllids or 'jumping plant lice' (Psylloidea, Hemiptera). (April 2015).

Tuthill LD. 1944. The psyllids of America north of Mexico (Psyllidae: Homoptera). Iowa State Journal of Science 17: 443–660.

USDA. (2006). Sideroxylon foetidissimum Jacq. false mastic. USDA Plant Database. Sideroxylon foetidissimum Jacq. false mastic (April 2015).



This document is EENY-370 (originally published as DPI Entomology Circular 26), one of a series of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date May 2006. Revised April 2015. Reviewed April 2018. Visit the EDIS website at


Frank W. Mead, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.