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The current distribution and geographical origin of the scale insect pest Ceroplastes sinensis (Hemiptera: Coccidae)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 July 2009

Qin Ting-Kui*
Division of Botany and Zoology, Australian National University, Canberra Australia and BCRI, NSW Agriculture, Rydalmere, Australia
Penny J. Gullan
Division of Botany and Zoology, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
G. Andrew C. Beattie
BCRI, NSW Agriculture, Rydalmere, Australia
John W.H. Trueman
Division of Botany and Zoology, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
Peter S. Cranston
CSIRO Division of Entomology, Canberra, Australia
Murray J. Fletcher
BCRI, NSW Agriculture, Rydalmere, Australia
Don P.A. Sands
CSIRO Division of Entomology, Brisbane, Australia
Dr T.K. Qin, CSIRO Division of Entomology, GPO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.


Ceroplastes sinensis Del Guercio is a pest of commercial citrus in Australia and has been recorded from New Zealand, southern Europe, northern Africa, North America and Mexico. Its distribution is mainly temperate and it is more restricted climatically than previously believed. Uncertainty concerning the place of origin of C. sinensis has thwarted previous attempts at biological control. In the present study, a novel and cost-effective approach using cladistic estimates is demonstrated to determine the place of its origin. Cladistically derived phylogenies are commonplace for many organisms, but the method has not been used before to predict the area of origin of a cosmopolitan pest. Cladistic analysis of the wax scales predicts a native range for C. sinensis within Central or South America. This prediction appears to have been confirmed by the recent discovery of heavily parasitized individuals of C. sinensis in Argentina. The cladistic analysis also allows prediction of the geographical origin of three other widespread wax scale speries:Ceroplastes ceriferus (Fabricius) may be of Neotropical origin, C. rubens Maskell and C. rusci (Linnaeus) are probably native to the Afrotropical region. The approach used has wide implications because the native areas of many other economically important pests are still unknown or uncertain.

Original Articles
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1994

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