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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Subtropical Horticulture Research

Title: Effect of Temperature on the life history of the mealybug, Paracoccus marginatus (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae)

item Amarasekare, Kaushalya
item Chong, Juang-horng
item Epsky, Nancy
item Mannion, Catherine

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/27/2008
Publication Date: 12/1/2008
Citation: Amarasekare, K.G., Chong, J., Epsky, N.D., Mannion, C. 2008. Effect of Temperature on the life history of the mealybug, Paracoccus marginatus (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) under laboratory conditions. Journal of Economic Entomology 101(6):1798-1804.

Interpretive Summary: The papaya mealybug is a threat to numerous agricultural products in the US, however little is known about its basic biology and life history. Therefore, research was conducted by scientists SHRS in collaboration with scientists at the University of Florida to study the effect of temperature on the life history of the papaya mealybug and to estimate the thermal requirements for this insect. Papaya mealybug was able to complete its life cycle at temperatures between 18 and 30 oC, but not at lower or higher temperatures. No eggs hatched at 37°C. The highest egg production was from females held at 25°C, with females producing an average of 300 eggs each. These results will be used by scientists, pest control operators and regulatory agencies to determine the effect of temperature on the development, survival, and reproduction of the papaya mealybug. Information on its thermal requirements will be used to predict its potential distribution and abundance in the US.

Technical Abstract: Effect of temperature on the life history of the mealybug, Paracoccus marginatus Williams and Granara de Willink was investigated in the laboratory. Paracoccus marginatus was able to develop and complete its life cycle at 18, 20, 25, and 30 ± 1°C. At 15, 34, and 35°C, the eggs hatched after 27, 6, and 6 d of incubation, but further development of the first-instar nymphs was arrested. No eggs hatched at 37°C. The development time for egg to adult was the longest at 18°C for both male and female, and then decreased with increasing temperature up to 25°C and 30°C for males for females, respectively. Approximately 80 to 90% of the eggs survived between 20 to 30°C. Highest fecundity was at 25°C with each female producing an average of 300 eggs. Adult longevity, and pre-oviposition and oviposition periods increased with decreasing temperature up to 25°C. The proportion of females was approximately 42% at 25°C and was between 70 to 80% at 18, 20, and 30°C. Adult male and female required 303 and 294 degree-days (DD), respectively to complete their development. The estimated minimum temperature thresholds for the adult male and female were 14.5 and 13.9°C, respectively. For the adult male, the estimated optimum and maximum temperature thresholds were 28.7 and 31.9°C, and for the adult female, they were 28.4 and 32.1°C, respectively. The ability of P. marginatus to develop, survive and reproduce successfully between 18 to 30°C suggests that it has the capability to develop and establish in areas within this temperature range.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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