Cryptolaemus montrouziei Mulsant
Common name: Mealybug ladybird, mealybug destroyer.
Geographical distribution: This predator, of Australian origin, has been distributed around the world through the commerce in natural enemies.
Morphology: The female is 3-5 mm long. The head, the prominent thorax and the legs red-brown, the elytra is shiny black covered by short hairs and slightly shorter than the abdomen. Larvae 7-10 mm in length, covered by white waxy strands, similar to mealybugs.
Life history: Both larvae and adults of these beetles feed and may completely devour the eggs and other stages of mealybug and other coccids. Total development at 27°C required about 4 weeks and several hundred eggs (depending on the prey and its host plant) may be laid. The eggs are initially placed among the eggs of the prey, whereon the predator feeds voraciously. The calculated threshold of development is around 0°C. The adults may live for several months, feeding also on honeydew. This predator is sensitive to low temperatures and several efforts had to be made in order to establish it in North America and in the Middle East.
Economic importance: Cryptolaemus montrouzieri is an important predator of mealybugs (especially those infesting citrus and grapes and occasionally also of soft scales and whiteflies. It controls large mealybug populations, but tends to leave the area as these prey become scarce. If later populations of the prey resurge, it becomes necessary to release the predator again. The predator is available from several companies.
Effect of pesticides: Cryptolaemus montrouzieri is relatively tolerant to many pesticides, although sensitive to the systemic fungicide Triadimefon.
Al-Khateeb, N., Raie, A., 2001, A study of some biological parameters of the predator Cryptolaemus montrouzieri Muls. Introduced to control Planococcus citri (Risso) in Syria, and estimate of its predation rate in the laboratory. Arab Journal of Plant Protection 19: 131-134.
Babu, T.R. and Azam, K.M. 1987. Toxicity of different fungicides to adult Cryptolaemus montrouzieri mulsant (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). Crop Protection 6: 161-162.
Ghorbanian, S., Aghdam, H.R., Ghajarieh, H. and Malkeshi, S.H. 2011. Life cycle and population growth parameters of Cryptolaemus montrouzieri Mulsant (Col.: Coccinellidae) reared on Planococcus citri (Risso) (Hem.: Pseudococcidae) on Coleus. Journal of the Entomological Research Society 13: 53-59.
Heidari, M., Copland, M.J.W, 1993, Honeydew: a food resource or arrestant for the mealybug predator Cryptolaemus montrouzieri. Entomophaga 38: 63-68.
Hodek, I. and Hodek, A. 2009. Scale insects, mealybugs, whiteflies and psyllids (Hemiptera, Sternorrhyncha) as prey of ladybirds. Biological Control 51: 232–243.
Kaur, H. and Virk, J. S. 2011. Feeding potential of Cryptolaemus montrouzieri against the mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis. Phytoparasitica 40: 131-136.
Mani, M. and Krishnamoorthy, K. 1990. Evaluation of the exotic predator Cryptolaemus montrouzieri Muls. (Coccinellidae, Coleoptera) in the suppression of green shield scale, Chloropulvinaria psidii (Maskell) (Coccidae, Hemiptera) on guava. Entomon 15: 45-48.
Özgokce, M.S., Atlihan, R. and Karaca, I. 2006. The life table of Cryptolaemus montrouzieri Mulsant (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) after different storage periods. Journal of Food, Agriculture & Environment 4: 282-287.
Theiling, K.M and Croft, B.A. 1988. Pesticide side-effects on arthropod natural enemies: A database summary. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 21: 191-218.