Papaya Mealybug

Paracoccus marginatus is a mealybug native to Central America. It has been spread accidentally outside its native range by trade in live plant material, such as papaya fruits. It became an invasive pest in the Caribbean Islands and USA (Florida) in 1994-2002; the West and Central Pacific islands in 2002-2006; South-East Asia and the Indo-Pacific islands in 2008-2010; West Africa in 2010-2016; East Africa from 2015; and Israel in 2016. The pest is expected to continue spreading, and climate warming is likely to increase the areas where it can establish. It is polyphagous and spreads rapidly, forming heavy infestations on aerial plant parts and killing some host-plants, including papaya. It poses a threat to commercial papaya plantations.

Image: ©Alessandra Rung/Scale Insects, USDA APHIS ITP/ - CC BY-NC 3.0 US