Pteroptrix smithi

Pteroptrix smithi (Compere)

Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Hymenoptera, Apocryta, Chalcidoidea, Aphelinidae.

Geographical distribution: This south-Asian species has successfully been introduced into North America, Mexico, Egypt and Israel.

Hosts: Various Diaspididae (armored scale insects), especially Chrysomphalus aonidum (L.).

Morphology: The adult body is about 0.7 mm long, black-brown with a few yellow patches, antennae with 7 segments.

Life history: An endoparasitoid of several Diaspididae, especially of C. aonidum infesting citrus. A female lays about 25 eggs in the host-scale, within which the emerging larvae feed and develop. At 26°C it completes a generation in 25 days. Adults live for 44 days at 20°C, only 15 days at 32°C.

Economic importance: A major enemy of C. aonidum, attacking the second-instar and female scales. In Israeli citrus orchards it co-exists and competes with the endoparasitoid Aphytis holoxanthus DeBach. It has become the dominant parasitoid of C. aonidum due to being relatively tolerant to organophosphates applied against the pest in citrus orchards. The parasitoid can be mass-reared on squash fruits infested by C. aonidum, and has been introduced into and successfully released in Mexico.


Bar, D. and Gerling, D. 1971. Biological studies of Pteroptrix smithi (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae). Entomophaga 16: 19-36.

Cohen, E., Podoler, H. and El-Hamlauwi, M. 1988. Effect of malathion-bait mixture on two parasitoids of the Florida red scale, Chrysomphalus aonidum (L.). Crop Protection 7: 91-95.

Podoler, H. and Rosen, D. 1987. Competition between two parasites of the Florida red scale in Israel. Ecological Entomology 12: 299-310.