Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Holometabola, Coleoptera, Coccinellidae.

(Some species were placed in the genera Nephus or Stethorus)

Geographical distribution: World-wide; some species were introduced into other regions for biological control purposes.

Morphology: The adult body is elongate-oval, somewhat convex, 1-3 mm long, elytra black to brown, sometimes with red spots and closly setose. The transverse head partially covered by the pronotum and the thorax may be red-brown, like the legs. The larvae are covered with waxy filaments or outgrowths, somewhat similar to those on mealybugs, which may protect them from ants.

Life history: Both larvae and adults are predators, preying mostly on aphids and also on spider mites, coccoids, whiteflies and on insect eggs. The threshold of development is around 11°-12°C, about 300 day degrees are needed to raise a generation, which can be complete in about 1 months. Several generations may annually be completed and they deposit around 30 eggs/female. Adults can survive for another 3-4 weeks. The activity of Scymnus may be affected by the prey’s host plants, as S. punctillum was most active on pepper and tomato and least on aubergine.

Economic importance: Several species of Scymnus reduce the populations and often control pestiferous aphids, spider mites, whiteflies and coccoids worldwide. They may be the most abundant predators in agroecosystems where aphids are major pests. Several species, like S. punctillum, are in commerce and were introduced to various regions for aphid and mite control.

Some Middle Eastern species of Scymnus that prey on aphids, unless otherwise noted.

Scymnus apetzi Mulsant.

Scymnus flavicollis Redtenbacher.

Scymnus hiekei Fürsch.

Scymnus interruptus Goeze (preys on mealybugs).

Scymnus levaillanti Mulsant.

Scymnus pallidivestis Mulsant (preys on whiteflies).

Scymnus punctillum (Weise) (preys on spider mites).

Scymnus subvillosus (Goeze).

Scymnus suturalis Thunberg.

Scymnus syriacus Marseul.


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