Common name

Cactus spine scale

Field characters

Newly mature adult female light purple with medial yellow stripe on dorsum; older females darker purple, without medial stripe. Crystalline rods noticeable along body margin, curved posteriorly, short rods in medial area of head and anterior thorax. Felted ovisac white, enclosing adult female. Occurring on fleshy part of host or on spines.

Validation characters

Large enlarged setae primarily with slightly truncate apices, restricted to body margin except few such setae in medial and mediolateral areas of head and anterior thorax, abdominal segments usually with 3 setae on each lateral margin of each abdominal segment, remainder of dorsum with small enlarged setae with truncate apices; microducts small, inconspicuous, with simple orifice; anal lobe lightly sclerotized on ventral surface, without teeth; hind tibia with 5 setae. Other characters: Anal lobes protruding; invaginated tubular ducts present; hind coxa and femur with translucent pores; cruciform pores present on venter along body margin.


Acanthococcus coccineus is similar to A. araucariae by having large enlarged setae with slightly truncate apices around body margin, small enlarged setae on remainder of dorsum. Acanthococcus coccineus differs by having large enlarged setae in medial area of thorax and head (absent in A. araucariae), microducts with simple orifice (bifurcate in A. araucariae), and anal lobes lightly sclerotized (heavily sclerotized in A. araucariae).

U.S. quarantine notes

This species was intercepted 3 times at U. S. ports-of-entry between 1995 and 2012, with specimens originating from Mexico and South Africa. We also have examined specimens taken in quarantine from Australia (Euphorbia); Canada (cactus); England (Mammillaria); Germany (Echinocactus, Echinopsis, Mammillaria, Rebutia); Israel (Astrophytum); Japan (Haworthia, Lobivia, Mammillaria); Mexico (Ancistrocactus, Astrophytum, Cereus, Corypantha, Crassula, Echeveria, Echinocactus, Echinocereus, Escobaria, Ferocactus, Gymnocactus, Lophophora, Mammillaria, Opuntia, Pelecyphora, Pilocereus, Thelocactus, Wilcoxia); The Netherlands (cactus); Peru (unknown host); and South Africa (Aloe, Stapelia). ScaleNet includes hosts in the Cactaceae only, on which it is most commonly intercepted. ScaleNet distribution records for A. coccineus includes South Africa in the Afrotropical region; Australia, Hawaiian Islands and New Zealand in the Australasian region, several countries in the Brazil in the Neotropics. No species of Acanthococcus other than A. araucariae (Maskell), A. coccineus, and A. dubius (Cockerell) have been intercepted at a U. S. port-of-entry.

Important references

Gill1993; Hoy1962; Koszta1996; MillerMi1992.

Scalenet catalog and citation list

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