Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

FNZ 11 - Pseudococcidae (Insecta: Hemiptera) - Historical Review

Cox, JM 1987. Pseudococcidae (Insecta: Hemiptera). Fauna of New Zealand 11, 232 pages.
( ISSN 0111-5383 (print), ; no. 11. ISBN 0-477-06791-3 (print), ). Published 07 Apr 1987

Historical Review

The New Zealand mealybug fauna was among the first in the world to receive serious study. Between 1879 and 1894 W.M. Maskell (first Registrar of the University of New Zealand), in a series of publications, described twelve mealybug species from New Zealand and recorded the cosmopolitan species Pseudococcus longispinus. His descriptions and illustrations dealt mainly with the external appearance of the live insect and with details of legs and antennae, and are consequently of little use in recognising his species today. Fortunately he preserved type material of most of his New Zealand species, which has enabled them to be redescribed.

For the next 21 years the New Zealand mealybugs attracted little attention except for brief notes in overseas catalogues.

The next major worker on New Zealand's mealybugs was G. Brittin, an amateur entomologist and microscopist. Brittin described three new species in 1915, and eighteen new species and one subspecies in 1938, in an account that included most ot the New Zealand species known at that time. His species are generally difficult to identify from his descriptions, but type material has been located for all but two of them.

In 1922 J.G. Myers, of the New Zealand Department of Agriculture, published a checklist of New Zealand scale insects and mealybugs. In this he listed the species described by Maskell and Brittin and included records of two further cosmopolitan pest species, Pseudococcus comstocki and P. maritimus. G. Leonardi (1918) described a new species from New Zealand flax in Italy. H. Morrison (United States Department of Agriculture) (1925) examined Maskell's type material of P. calceolariae in order to sort out the confusion concerning the use of this name. In the same paper he also described two new species from New Zealand. E.E. Green (a British amateur entomologist) (1929) described a new species from specimens sent to him from New Zealand for identification.

After Brittin's second paper was published, 18 years passed with little further activity. Then, in 1956, Y.M. Ezzat and H.S. McConnell (University of Maryland, U.S.A.) described two New Zealand species taken in quarantine at Washington, D.C., in their account of the tribe Planococcini.

In 1966 A. Ward (New Zealand Department of Agriculture), in a survey of mealybug species in Hawkes Bay orchards, recorded the cosmopolitan pest species Pseudococcus affinis (as P. obscurus) from New Zealand for the first time. She also recorded the American species Phenacoccus graminicola (as P. graminosus), which had been noted previously by van Geldermalsen (New Zealand Department of Agriculture) from Nelson in 1962 as Phenacoccus sp. J.A. de Boer (New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research) (1967a) recorded two other cosmopolitan species, Vryburgia lounsburyi and Rhizoecus falcifer, from New Zealand for the first time. She also described four new species and redescribed one of Maskell's species (1967b, 1968).

D.J. Williams (Commonwealth Institute of Entomology) and J.A. de Boer (1973) gave an account of ten species of mealybug from New Zealand. They erected two new genera, redescribed eight species, submerged five nominal indigenous species as junior synonyms of another indigenous species, and synonymised the cosmopolitan pest species Pseudococcus fragilis with P. calceolariae, which was originally described from New Zealand by Maskell (1879), although it is probably of Australian origin. In 1974 E.J. Hambleton (United States Department of Agriculture) revised the New Zealand species of Rhizoecus, describing three new and apparently endemic species and recording the South African species R. perprocerus from this country.

J.M. Cox (New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries) (1977a) demonstrated that published records of Pseudococcus comstocki and P. maritimus were based on misidentifications of P. calceolariae and P. obscurus respectively, and in 1978 revised the genus Rhizoecus from New Zealand, synonymising two nominal species with species originally described from America, and recording the cosmopolitan pest species R. dianthi from New Zealand for the first time.

In 1977 K.A.J. Wise (Auckland Institute and Museum) published a checklist covering some higher taxa of the New Zealand Hexapoda, including Pseudococcidae. L.L. Deitz (1979) briefly summarised the recent literature on mealybug identification, with notes on current nomenclature: and in l980 L.L. Deitz and M.F. Tocker (New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research) produced a catalogue of the locations of Maskell's type material which has been invaluable for locating material used in this study.

The account given here is the first attempt since that of Brittin (1938) to present a complete record of the mealybugs known from New Zealand.

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