Chilocorus bipustulatus (L.)
Common name: Armored scale lady beetle, heather lady beetle.
Geographic distribution: Europe, North Africa and Middle East.
Morphology: The body of the adult is rounded, convex, about 3-4 mm in length, the elytra are adorned with two reddish-orange spots on each elytron. The larva is about 5 mm in length, dark-brown except for the first abdominal segmet being yellow, and with many dark spots that bear spiny setae, head black.
Life history: Adults as well as larvae are predators, apparently preferring armored scale insects over soft scales. The eggs (about 30-60/female) are placed near their prey, on which the emerging larvae feed. At 26±1°C and 65±1% relative humidity, and given sufficient and suitable prey, the beetle raises a generation in about 5-6 weeks, and 475 day degrees are required for total development. However, this value may depend on the consumed prey. In the Middle East the predator is most abundant during summer, foraging mostly on tree trunks, but scarce during winter. It occurs in larger numbers on mature citrus trunks than on trunks of young trees, probably because more prey occur on the elder trees. The predator raises 4 annual generations, which due to their long lives (2-6 months), partially overlap.
Economic importance: This beetle is a major natural enemy of Coccoidea, on which it feeds voraciously. The larvae may consume several dozen prey during their development, and adults can daily kill 3-5 adult scales. It has successfully been introduced into several countries, such as Niger, for the biological control of scale insects. In addition, C. bipustulatus is the vector of the parasitic mite Hemisarcoptes coccophagus Meyer, which also feeds on Diaspididae, contributing to their control.
Natural enemies: The encyrtid Homalotylus flaminius (Dalman) is an important parasitoid of the beetle, despite being attacked by several hyperparasites. The entomopathogenic fungus Hesperomyces virescens Thaxter (Laboulbeniales) occurs on adults of C. bipustulatus, without causing any discernible damage.
Applebaum, S., Kfir, R., Gerson, U. and Tadmor, U. 1971. Studies on The summer decline of Chilocorus bipustulatus in citrus groves of Israel. Entomophaga 16: 433-444.
Eliopoulos, P.A., Kontodimas, D.C. and Stathas, G.J. 2010. Temperature-dependent development of Chilocorus bipustulatus (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). Environmental Entomology 39: 1352-1358.
Izraylevich, S. and Gerson, U. 1995. The hypopus of Hemisarcopte coccophagus Meyer: distribution and apolysis. Acarologia 36 333-339.
Moustafa, M. 2012. Scale insects (Coccoidae: Hemiptera) infested citrus trees and their natural enemies, with a key of these pests in Egypt. Egyptian Academy Journal of Biological Science 5: 1-23.
Rosen, D. and Gerson, U. 1965. Field studies of Chilocorus bipustulatus (L.) on citrus in Israel. Annales des Ėpiphyties 16: 71-76.
Sevinç, M.S., Karaca, I. and Özgökçe, M.S. 2013. Life table parameters of Chilocorus bipustulatus (L.) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) on two different prey [Aspidiotus nerii Bouche (Hemiptera: Diaspididae) densities. IOBC-WPRS Bulletin 95: 121-129.
Stansly, P.A. 1984. Introduction and evaluation of Chilocorus bipustulatus [Col.: Coccinellidae] fo control of Parlatoria blanchardi [Hom.: Diaspididae] in date groves of Niger. Entomophaga 29: 29-39.
Uygun, N. and Elekçioğlu, N.Z. 1998. Effect of three Diaspididae prey species on development and fecundity of the ladybeetle Chilocorus bipustulatus in the laboratory. BioControl 43: 153–162.