Common name

Sunflower mealybug

Field characters

Body elongate oval; covered by layer of white mealy wax; cottony ovisac covers body and is longer than body of female, sometimes as much as 10 mm long; probably with 18 pairs of lateral filaments, becoming progressively longer posteriorly, caudal pair almost as long as body. Occurring on leaves and stems of host.

Validation characters

Anal-lobe cerarius with 6-15 conical setae, penultimate cerarius with slightly fewer conical setae but more than 2, next cerarius usually with more than 2 conical setae, remaining abdominal cerarii with 2 conical setae; multilocular pores on dorsum of thorax and abdomen; multiloculars on venter normally present on segments IV-VIII, rarely on mesothorax, present on submargin of some abdominal segments; oral-collar tubular ducts on dorsum abundant on thorax and abdomen, uncommon on head; oral collars on venter present on thorax and abdomen; circulus mushroom shaped or oval; dorsal setae conical; quinquelocular pores present; antennae 9-segmented; denticle on claw.


Phenacoccus helianthi is similar to P. franseriae by having dorsal oral-collar tubular ducts and multilocular pores,18 pairs of cerarii, and 9-segmented antennae. Phenacoccus helianthi can be distinguished (characters of P. franseriae are in parentheses) by lacking dorsomedial cerarii on segments VI and VII (present), more than 2 conical setae in posterior 3 pairs of cerarii (2 conical setae), and dorsal multiloculars present on thorax (absent).

U.S. quarantine notes

This species was intercepted at U. S. ports-of-entry 9 times between 1995 and 2012, with specimens originating from Mexico. We also have examined specimens taken in quarantine from Mexico (Acacia, Nerium). ScaleNet lists hosts in 14 plant families. It is commonly intercepted on basil (Lamiaceae– Mint family). ScaleNet distribution records for P. helianthi include Mexico and the United States of America (West of the Rocky Mountains). Several species of Phenacoccus other than P. defectus Ferris, P. franseriae Ferris, P. gossypii Townsend & Cockerell, P. hakeae Williams, P. helianthi, P. madeirensis Green, P. parvus Morrison, P. solani Ferris, P. solenopsis Tinsley and P. stelli (Brain) have been taken at U. S. ports-of-entry including: P. alleni McKenzie (Mexico, on Artemisia); P. avenae Borchsenius (Turkey, on Stachys); P. azaleae Kuwana (Japan, on azalea); P. graminicola Leonardi (New Zealand, on Feijoa); P. hurdi McKenzie (Mexico, on Dendranthema and Capsicum); P. indicus Avasthi & Shafee (Thailand, on Euphorbia); P. multicerarii Granara de Willink (Mexico, on unknown host); P. manihoti Matile-Ferrero (Central Africa and South America, on Manihot); P. nephelii Takahashi (Thailand, on Garcinia; Vietnam, on Nephelium); P. pergandei Cockerell (Japan and Korea, on Diospyros, Magnolia, Malus, Prunus, Punica, and Rhododendron); and P. persimplex Borchsenius (Kazakhstan, on Malus).

Important references

Ferris1950b; McKenz1967; WilliaGr1992; GranarSz2007

Scalenet catalog and citation list

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