Hide Chiba from Japan has asked me to be on the look out for Hylephila philaeus, a spcies of skipper (Hesperiidae) which has not been collected from Guam. Dr. Chiba has a photo of this species taken by a tourist visiting Guam. Have a look at the attached PDF for images and description.
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This photo of a scale insect infesting papaya on Majuro was sent by Henry Capelle, Chief of Agriculture and Quarantine, Republic of the Marshall Islands.
My guess is that it is papaya mealybug, Paracoccus marginata. If you pan arround the image at highest resolution, you will see mealybugs, and not just the wax they exude.
This mealybug was a serious problem on Guam and other Micronesian Islands starting in the early 2000's. However, introduction of parasitoids quickly brought it under control (Meyerdirk et al. 2004, Muniappan et al. 2006).
I suggest the following steps should be taken:
- Send specimens to a specialist to determine species. (Necessary because many biocontrol agents are species-specific.)
- Determine if parasitoids are already present. If so, can changes be made to make them more effective (pesticide selection, etc.)
- Introduce biocontrol agents which have effectively controled the target scale insect elsewhere in the Pacific.
Specimens sent to Dr. Gillian Watson, California Department of Food and Agriculture
4fc590d3d59fe Laura, Majuro, Marshall Islands 7.143123°N 171.037872°E ex papaya coll. H. Capelle 25-MAY-2012 4fc590d3e4cdf Laura, Majuro, Marshall Islands 7.143123°N 171.037872°E ex papaya coll. H. Capelle 25-MAY-2012
Paracoccus marginata, papaya mealybug
Det. by G. Watson, 8-JUN-2012
This is a new island record for Majuro, and a new country record for the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Early detection coupled with prompt action has resulted in eradication of the ant, Lepisiota frauenfeldi, before it could spread from the Guam International Airport to other parts of the island .
The adult, a small, pale yellow wasp, about 1 mm long also destroys many scales by mutilating them to feed on their body fluids. At 26 C the life cycle of Aphytis lignanensis takes 16 to 17 days and the adults live for 2 to 3 weeks. Aphytis lignanensis attacks virgin adult female scales (also second instar and male prepupae). Its eggs, which are white and teardrop-shaped, are laid on or under the scale body as distinct from the scale covering or cap. They hatch into yellow rotund larvae which feed on the scale body, eventually growing almost as big as the body of the scale itself. When full grown the parasitic larva forms a yellow pupa about 1 mm long. It is readily recognised because it is surrounded by a number of brown larval faecal pellets.
The Insects of Guam Road Show is a travelling exhibit designed by Olympia Terral and put together by UoG entomologists Dr. Ross Miller and Dr. Aubrey Moore. The exhibit will be on display for a week at a time at many of Guam's schools. For further information, please phone Olympia at 735-2092. (Photo by Linda Tatreau.)
Presentation for the Pacific Entomology Conference, Honolulu, February 23, 2012.
Extracted from California Pest and Disease Report Vol. 12, No. 3-4 (1993):
A beetle interception was also of interest. The following report by Dick Brown outlines the find:
Smith River AIS Patty Adams made a startling and unexpected interception when a driver
handed her a baggie containing 20 dead "Japanese beetles." It turned out that the Air Force
Reserve Officer had collected the beetles on the tarmac in Okinawa and thought we might be
interested. The officer stated to PQI Pat Wilson that, "The airfield there was crawling with
Japanese beetles to the point of making the runways slippery from the crushed bodies."
In a further development, the "Japanese beetles" actually turned out to be the very closely related
species Popillia lewisi. From the airman's remarks, it looks as if this species of Popillia also has the
potential to become a very serious pest. This is just one more exotic species that California must
be alert for in order to prevent establishment here.
Please see the attached PDF file for the visual part of a presentation entitled "Update on the Guam Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Eradication Project for the Guam Invasive Species Council". Presented by Aubrey Moore, February 15, 2012.