Milviscutulus mangiferae (Green)
Common name: Mango shield scale.
Geographical distribution: Tropical and subtropical regions.
Host plants: Polyphagous, a pest mainly of mango and some ornamentals.
Morphology: Body of female flat, 4-5 mm in length, covered by a pale-green, shiny, almost transparent shield that tends to become brown, opaque and somewhat convex when and after producing eggs. Short spines extend all over the body, antennae with 6-8 segments; anal plates twice as long as wide, broadening posteriorly.
Life history: The crawlers settle on the lower sides of leaves. The pest usually raises two annual generations, population peaks in April-May and in September, with another complete or partial generation in warmer regions. Reproduction is by parthenogenesis as well as sexual (males are present the year around, albeit in low numbers).
Economic importance: Damage is due to secreting large amounts of honeydew which is colonized by sootymold fungi, covering the fruit and leaves by a thick black mass. Photosynthesis is reduced, leaves may drop and branches dry up. The sooty mold covers the fruit, reducing their commercial value. Very heavy infestations (more than 500 scales/leaf) can cause much yield loss, tree decline and even death.
Chemical control: As the pest is often controlled by natural enemies, efforts should be made to avoid disrupting their populations. Only white oils are thus recommended for its control in mango plantations, unless its populations become very high and destructive.
Biological control: Mango shield scale is attacked by several endoparasitoids, of which the more important are Microterys flavus Howard (Encyrtidae) and Coccophagus eritreaensis Compere (Aphelinidae).
Swirski, E., Wysoki, M. and Izhar, Y. 2002. Subtropical Fruits Pests in Israel. Fruit Board of Israel (in Hebrew with an English abstract).