Common name

Red date palm scale

Field characters

Body small, about 1.5 mm long, spherical, red or reddish brown, embedded or nested in white wax; often rubbed, exposing red color of body. Occurring on white tissues at base of fronds, occasionally on exposed roots and fronds.

Validation characters

Body margin with series of dermal papillae; 8-shaped tubular ducts present; anal ring located on venter, without pores, with 1 pair of setae; legs absent; spiracles with bar and no associated sclerotized area; quinquelocular pores present near spiracles; antennae with 1 segment.


Phoenicococcus marlatti is similar to species of Thysanococcus by lacking legs; having 8-shaped tubular ducts; anal ring without pores, sometimes with 1 pair of setae; 1-segmented antenna; 1 segmented labium. Phoenicococcus marlatti can be distinguished (characters of Thysanococcus species given in parentheses) by having numerous dermal papillae around body margin (without papillae); anal ring ventral (dorsal); quinquelocular pores present (absent).

U.S. quarantine notes

This species was intercepted at U. S. ports-of-entry 19 times between 1995 and 2012, with specimens originating from Egypt, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Taiwan, and Tunisia. ScaleNet lists hosts primarily in Arecaceae (palms), but there is one record for Myrtaceae. It is most commonly intercepted on palms. According to ScaleNet records, P. marlatti originated in the Middle East and North Africa and has been transported on infested date palms, being now present in the Nearctic, Neotropical and Oriental zoogeographic regions. Phoenicococcus has only one valid species.

Important references

Borden 1921; Brown and McKenzie 1962; Gill 1993, Stickney 1934, 1950.

Scalenet catalog and citation list

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