Coccidoxenoides perminutus

Coccidoxenoides perminutus Girault

(Also known as Coccidoxenoides peregrinus (Timberlake) and Pauridia peregrina Timberlake)

Systematic position: Insecta, Holometabola, Lepidoptera, Apocrita, Chalcidoidea, Encyrtidae.

Geographical distribution: Almost cosmopolitan, due to being used in commerce.

Morphology: Adults 2-3 mm in length, almost totally black except for posterior leg segments. Wings with only a single, anterior vein.

Life history: This species is a solitary, thelytokous endoparasitoid of mealybugs, which is not greatly disturbed by the presence of ants. It lays its eggs (>100/female) into the early instars of their hosts, completes a life cycle in 3-4 weeks and the adult lives for about one week, provided it has access to nutrients (e.g. nectar). The calculated threshold of development was about 11.00°C, and 508 day degrees are required to complete a generation.

Economic importance: This species is a major, very effective natural enemy of mealybugs, and is widely used for this purpose, in many regions. It is being sold by several companies. In South Africa and elsewhere mass releases of C. peregrinus resulted in the control of Planococcus ficus, comparable to that achieved using chemical sprays, and in India it greatly reduced the numbers and damage of Planococcus citri infesting Citrus. On the other hand, longevity is curtailed in dry and hot regions areas, as it is susceptible to low relative humidity and high temperatures. In the field its establishment can be monitored by using yellow sticky traps.

Effect of pesticides: Organophosphates applied in South Africa against mealybugs were lethal to the parasitoid, whereas insect growth regulators had little effect.


Attia A.R. and El-Arnaouty, S.A. 2009. Notes on the new parasitoid species, Coccidoxenoides peregrinus (Timberlank) (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) on Planococcus citri (Risso) (Homoptera: Pseudococcidae) in Egypt. Egyptian Journal of Biological Pest control. 19: 87.

Ceballo, F.A. and Walter, G.H. 2005. Why is Coccidoxenoides perminutus, a mealybug parasitoid, ineffective as a biocontrol agent — inaccurate measures of parasitism or low adult survival? Biological Control 33: 260-268.

Gol’berg, A.M.1982. Influence of temperature and relative humidity on survival and fecundity of Pauridia peregrina, a parasite of mealybugs and its interactions with Planococcus citri. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 32: 86-90.

Joyce, A.L., Hoddle, M.S., Bellows, T.S. and Gonzalez, D. 2001, Oviposition behavior of Coccidoxenoides peregrinus, a parasitoid of Planococcus ficus. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 98: 49-57.

Mani, M. 1994. Recovery of the indigenous Coccidoxenoides peregrinus and the exotic Leptomastix dactylopii on Planococcus citri in lemon and acid lime orchards. Biocontrol Science and Technology 4: 49-52.

Sime, K.R. and Daane, K.M. 2014. A comparison of two parasitoids (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) of the vine mealybug: rapid, non-discriminatory oviposition is favored when ants tend the host. Environmental Entomology 43: 995-1002.

Wakgari, W.M. and Giliomee, J.H. 2003. Natural enemies of three mealybug species (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) found on citrus and effects of some insecticides on the mealybug parasitoid Coccidoxenoides peregrinus (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) in South Africa. Bulletin of Entomological Research 93: 243-54.

Walton, V.M. and Pringle K.L. 2003. Evaluating effectiveness of mass releases of the vine mealybug (Planococcus ficus) parasitoid Coccoidoxenoides peregrinus in Western Cape Province vineyards, South Africa. 1st International Symposium on Biological Control of Arthropods, pp. 524-532.