Common name

Micrococcids

Field characters

Adult females of Micrococcus species are pink or red and are broadly oval when mature. They generally feed on the roots of grasses and often are in Tapinoma ants nest. Males are wingless. Adult females of Molluscococcus fibrillae Hall are peculiar in that they appear like a bivalved mollusc. A deep depression is formed in the body of the female around the rootlet of the host grass.

Validation characters

Unique characters of the family include the presence of apparent anal lobes; discoidal pores with unusually thick margins; and the vulva which is located on abdominal segment 6. Other characters include spiracles with pores in the atrium; anal plates surrounding the anal opening; antennae 3-segmented; labium 1-segmented; legs usually with tibia and tarsus fused; invaginated tubular ducts.

Notes

Placement of species of. Molluscococcus and Micrococcus have always been difficult. They have been treated as a separate family (Micrococcidae), and as members of the Coccidae, Eriococcidae, and Pseudococcidae. Micrococcidae Silvestri was first used as a family by Koteja (1974).

Distribution

Micrococcids occur in the Mediterranean area and Zimbabwe. Click here for a list of genera and species from the Afrotropical region and Palaearctic region. They are most speciose in the Palaearctic region.

Hosts

Micrococcids are found only on the roots of grasses (with one apparently incidental record from Rubus).

Life history

Micrococcids have 4 instars in the female and apparently 5 in the male. They have a single generation each year and aestivate as first instars, at least in Micrococcus bodenheimeri Bytinskii-Salz. Development occurs during the winter when grass seed begins to germinate. Egg-laying females occur up to the end of March or the beginning of April in Israel.

Important references

Bytinski-Salz 1961; Koteja 1974; Marotta et al. 1995; Miller and Williams 1995.

Diversity

Click here for a check list of all micrococcid genera and species.