Lebbeck Mealybug Nipaecoccus viridis (Newstead)1

Lauren M. Diepenbrock and Jamie D. Burrow 2

Lebbeck mealybug, Nipaecoccus viridis, is an exotic mealybug previously documented on dodder and tallow wood in Palm Beach County and intercepted at ports of entry. In June 2019, it was documented feeding on and damaging citrus in Highlands County, Florida. It has a wide range of hosts in Florida including citrus, mango, and several ornamental plants.

Life Stages

Each adult female produces approximately 600 eggs during her lifetime. The offspring develop into mobile nymphs called "crawlers." Lebbeck mealybug nymphs resemble, and are easily confused with, scale nymphs. They are reddish-purple, very small, and have legs and antennae that are visible under magnification.

Figure 1. N. viridis crawlers.
Figure 1.  N. viridis crawlers.
Credit: T. R. Weeks, UF/IFAS

The adult male is 1.3–2.5 mm long and brownish-purple. It has well-developed front wings.

Figure 2. Adult female next to ovisac with another female.
Figure 2.  Adult female next to ovisac with another female.
Credit: T. R. Weeks, UF/IFAS

The female has three nymphal stages and slowly moves between stages to new feeding sites. The adult is oval, reddish-purple, and 2.4–4 mm long and 1.5–3 mm wide. Once the female begins laying eggs, it develops a white to pale yellow wax-covered ovisac (egg sack) that houses tiny red eggs. In their native Middle East, the females can live up to 50 days. They die shortly after laying all of their eggs.

Figure 3. Female without ovisac.
Figure 3.  Female without ovisac.
Credit: L. M. Diepenbrock, UF/ IFAS

Damage

Lebbeck mealybug has been mistaken for other wax-producing pests (mealybugs and scales) in several fields, but its damage and feeding sites are distinct from those of these other pests. N. viridis prefers to feed and reproduce on fast-growing tissues like new growth, new branches, and fruit. Fruit feeding causes hardened lumps and/or discoloration. Leaves also become twisted/distorted from feeding. Fruit drop is the biggest factor in crop loss.

Figure 4. Fruit damage from N. viridis feeding.
Figure 4.  Fruit damage from N. viridis feeding.
Credit: T. R. Weeks, UF/IFAS

Figure 5. N. viridis on calyx button.
Figure 5.  N. viridis on calyx button.
Credit: T. R. Weeks, UF/IFAS

Figure 6. N. viridis on blossom end of fruit.
Figure 6.  N. viridis on blossom end of fruit.
Credit: T. R. Weeks, UF/ IFAS

Footnotes

1. This document is ENY-1005, one of a series of the Entomology and Nematology Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date April 2020. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu for the currently supported version of this publication.
2. Lauren M. Diepenbrock, assistant professor, Entomology and Nematology Department; and Jamie D. Burrow, Extension program manager; UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center, Lake Alfred, FL 33850.

Peer Reviewed

Publication #ENY-1005

Date: 2020-06-01
Burrow, Jamie D
Diepenbrock, Lauren M
Entomology and Nematology

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Contacts

  • Lauren Diepenbrock