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Keywords:

  • Coccus;
  • Parasaissetia;
  • Parthenolecanium;
  • pest control;
  • Vitis

Abstract

There is little information on the distribution and pest status of soft scale insects (Hemiptera: Coccoidea: Coccidae) in vineyards in Australia despite the potential of this group to spread ampeloviruses and directly damage vines. A survey of coccid species in the main vineyard regions was therefore undertaken. Parthenolecanium persicae (62% of sites), Part. pruinosum (46%) and Coccus hesperidum (8%) were the most common species collected, while Co. longulus, Parasaissetia nigra and Saissetia species were also recorded. Rare male Part. persicae were collected from one location. A 385 base pair fragment of the cytochrome oxidase subunit I (CO1) region was sequenced to provide a species-specific marker for identification applicable across live stages. CO1 detected reasonable levels of sequence variation within some species and high levels of variation between species. The phylogenetic tree based on CO1 was able to discriminate between all species and showed Part. pruinosum from Gumeracha (SA), Part. nigra from West Swan (WA) and Co. longulus to be quite unique. These findings indicate that Part. pruinosum is much more common than previously appreciated and may include multiple species but also highlights the dominant pest status of Part. persicae in Australian vineyards and provides support for the application of CO1 to future molecular studies of Coccidae within Australia.