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Common name

Citrus mealybug

Field characters

Body oval; slightly rounded in lateral view; body yellow when newly molted, pink or orange-brown when fully mature; legs brown-red; mealy wax covering body, not thick enough to hide body color; with dorsomedial bare area on dorsum forming central longitudinal stripe (more obvious than on P. ficus); ovisac ventral only, may be 2 times longer than body when fully formed; with 18 pairs of lateral wax filaments, most relatively short, often slightly curved, posterior pair slightly longer, filaments anterior of posterior pair small, posterior pair about 1/8 length of body. Primarily occurring on foliage of host. Oviparous, eggs yellow. Surface of lateral filaments rough.

Validation characters

More than 5 ventral oral-collar tubular ducts between antennae; 6 or more ventral oral-collar tubular ducts laterad of middle coxae (count both sides); translucent pores on hind coxa and tibia; usually with 1 or more dorsolateral tubular ducts that often appear as oral rims; no auxiliary setae; anal bar present; 18 pairs of cerarii.


Planococcus citri is very similar to P. minor and in too many cases is inseparable from it. Planococcus citri usually differs by having many ventral oral-collar tubular ducts between the antennae and on the head and by having many ventral oral collars latered of the middle coxa. Planococcus minor has few or no ventral oral collars between the antennae and laterad of the middle coxa. The following table was developed by Cox (1989) to separate the species. A calculation is made based on the value for each of 6 characters and the score determines the identity of the specimen. Scores of 0-35 = P. minor; 36-120 = P. citri. Values pertain to both sides of the body. For example, if a specimen has 12 ventral oral-collar tubular ducts on the head, it receives a score of 10; 20 ventral oral collars laterad on middle coxa = receives a score of 40; 2 ventral oral collars between cerarii 16 and 17 = 10; a total of 8 multiloculars behind both front coxae = 0; length of hind coxa + tarsus/ length of hind trochanter + femur of 1.09 = 5; double row of ventral multilocular pores on segment VI = 0. The total score for the specimen is 65 and it is determined to be P. citri, i.e., more than 35.

Character Value Score
Number of ventral oral-collar tubular ducts on head 0-3
Number of ventral oral-collar tubular ducts laterad of middle coxae 0-2
At least 1 ventral oral-collar tubular duct between 16th and 17th cerarius (counting from anal lobe) No
Number multilocular pores behind front coxae 0-6
Ratio length hind = tibia + tarsus to length of trochanter + femur 1.00-1.07
Width of row of ventral multilocular disk pores on posterior margin segment of VI Single

U.S. quarantine notes

This species was intercepted 2,007 times at U. S. ports-of-entry between 1995 and 2012, with specimens originating from Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azores, Bahamas, Barbados, Bangladesh, Belize, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Cuba, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, French Guiana, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guam, Guatemala, Haiti, Hawaii, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Palestinian Territory, Panama, Peru, The Philippines, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, Suriname, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Tortola, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uganda, The United Arab Emirates, The United States of America, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Vietnam. It is polyphagous; therefore, we have not recorded older quarantine records. ScaleNet lists the species from more than 70 families of host plants and gives distribution records in all zoogeographic regions. It is intercepted at U. S. ports-of-entry from nearly any area of the world since it occurs outdoors in warm areas and in greenhouses and indoor landscapes in cooler areas. Several species of Planococcus other than P. citri, P. ficus (Signoret), P. halli Ezzat & McConnell, P. kraunhiae (Kuwana), P. lilacinus (Cockerell), P. litchi Cox and P. minor (Maskell) have been taken at U. S. ports-of-entry including: P. angkorensis (Takahashi) (China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, The Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, on many tropical plants); P. dendrobi Ezzat and McConnell (India, The Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, on Cypripedium, Dendrobium, Phalaenopsis, Saccolobium and Vanda); P. hosnyi Ezzat and McConnell (South Africa, on orchid); P. hospitus De Lotto (Uganda, on Cyrtorchis); P. japonicus Cox (Japan and The Philippines, on Carpinus, Fatsia, Lansium, Malus, Rhododendron and Vitis); P. kenyae (LePelley) (Nigeria, Sierra Leone, on Ficus and Cola); P. mali Ezzat and McConnell (New Zealand, on Malus and Olearia); P. orchidi Cox (Liberia, on orchids); and P. philippinensis Ezzat and McConnell (The Philippines, on Aerides, Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Eria, Phalaenopsis, Spathoglottis and Vanda).

Important references

Cox1989; WilliaWa1988a; WilliaGr1992; Willia2004.

All references mentioned

Planococcus citri