Saissetia oleae (Olivier) -- Coccidae
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This polyphagous, almost cosmopolitan species, is as pest primarily on olive and citrus. Its origin remains in doubt, as previously discussed. Some consider South Africa as the native home (DeLotto 1976), while D. P. Annecke (pers. commun.) considered North Africa as the place of origin. Black scale is rarely a pest of citrus in East Africa, Mexico and central California, but has been very serious in southern California, Chile, Australia and in the Mediterranean region.
Black scale became a pest in southern California as early as 1880, and biological control was begun in 1981-92 with the introduction of some coccinellid beetles from Australia. Two species, Orcus chalybeus and Rhizobius ventralis Erichson were established (Essig 1931). Several other species of Orcus, Rhizobius and Leis were obtained in Australia during 1892-1902, without becoming established (Bartlett 1978). The parasitoid Scutellista cyanea Motschulsky was imported from South Africa in 1901, followed by about 30 other species of parasitoids and 10 coccinellids over six decades (Bartlett 1978, Luck 1981). Of nine established parasitoids, Metaphycus helvolus (Compere), M. lounsbury (Howard), M. bartletti Annecke & Mynhardt, S. cyanea, and Diversinervus elegans Silvestri were established. Although some control was obtained with the introduction of Metaphycus lounsburyi in 1918 (Smith 1921), substantial control was only obtained after the establishment of M. helvolus (Bartlett 1978).
Kennett et al. (1999) point out that various aspects of the long campaign against S. oleae which are of especial interest include (1) the emphasis placed on introduction of coccinellid predators following the earlier success with Rodolia cardinalis for biological control of the cottony-cushy scale; none established. (2) the apparent displacement of Moranila californica (Howard), another chalcidoid egg predator, by S. cyanea (Flanders 1958), (3) failure of the introduced Coccophagus species to attack S. oleae on citrus (Clausen 1956), (4) the erroneous introduction of the hyperparasitoid Quaylea whittieri Girault, which adversely affected M. lounsbury, but which disappeared in later years (Flanders 1943); (5) the different degrees of control achieved on univoltine (inland) and bivoltine (coastal) scale populations; (6) the role of host feeding by M. helvolus in reducing S. oleae populations (DeBach 1943); (7) the near eradication of the nigra scale, Saissetia nigra Nietner, by M. helvolus (Smith 1944), and (8) the elimination of Eucalymnatus tesselatus (Signoret) by M. helvolus prior to its becoming a major pest (Bartlett 1969).
Lampson & Morse (1992) appraised the status of biological control in California. Black scale surveys were made between Sept 1987-1989. From 308 collections of black scale-infested citrus, olive, and oleander twigs from 19 sites in southern California, 1,610 specimens were collected. Nine primary and six secondary parasitoids were identified. Four primaries wer abundant in southern California: Metaphycus bartletti Anneck & Mynhardt, M. helvolus (Compere), Scutellista caerulea (Fonscolombe) (= S. cyanea Motschulsky), and Diversinervus elegans Silvestri. Common secondaries were Marietta mexicana (Howard), Cheiloneurus noxius Compere and Tetrastichus minutus (Howard). In coastal southern California, M. bartletti was the most abundant, followed in order by D. elegans, S. caerulea and M. helvolus. In the intermediate and interior regions, M. helvolus was most abundant. D. elegans was second most abundant in the intermediate region, but rare in the interior. M. bartletti was second in abundance in the interior and third in the intermediate (Lampson & Morse 1992).
In Australia most of the early efforts to control S. oleae involved movement of native natural enemies, especially coccinellids, to different states (Wilson 1960). Exotic parasitoids were also introduced, including Moranila californica and Scutellista cyanea from California, and Metaphycus lounsbury from South Africa. Excellent control was achieved in Western Australia through the action of all of these parasitoids (Wilson 1960). Metaphycus helvolus was introduced from California in 1942 and became established in South Australia. Wilson (1960) reported that S. oleae assumed only minor importance presently due to the action of native and exotic natural enemies, which was not the case in California.
Biological control was begun in Chile in 1903 with the introduction of Rhizobius ventralis, but concentrated efforts were not made until the 1930's when eight species of parasitoids, including Metaphycus lounsburyi, were introduced from California and Peru (Graf Marin & Cortes 1939, Bartlett 1978). Only S. cyanea became established, however. Metaphycus helvolus was released in 1943, but establishment failed. A later attempt in 1951 resulted in this parasitoid's establishment (Kennett et al. 1999). Metaphycus lounsburyi appeared in Chile around 1944, presumably by dispersing from Peru where it had been introduced to control S. oleae on olives (Duran 1944). Metaphycus lounsburyi and M. helvolus were both thought to be highly effective in areas where the scale was bivoltine, but not so effective in univoltine populations (Gonzalez 1969). Other parasitoids noted as contributing to overall biological control were Coccophagus caridei (Brethes), Scutellista cyanea and Metaphycus flavus (Howard) (also see Wille, 1941, 1952, 1958; Caballero 1951, Beingolea 1956, Gonzalez & Rojas 1966).
Only recently were attempts made to control S. oleae in the Mediterranean region, following an increase in severity of infestations with the advent of synthetic insecticides (Argyriou & DeBach 1968, Rivnay 1968, Greathead 1976). Several parasitoids were introduced into France around 1953, followed by efforts in Italy in 1960-71, Corsica in 1971, Iran in 1960, Greece in 1962-68 and Israel in 1963-78. Original introductions in France were unsuccessful (Kennett et al. 1999) but later M. helvolus was finally established in 1969 and M. lounsburyi in 1976 (Kennett et al. 1999). Early efforts in Israel also were unsuccessful, but later introductions made primarily from South Africa during 1972-77 produced established populations of M. lounsburyi, M. bartletti, M. helvolus, and S. cyanea (Wysoki 1979).
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