Phoenicococcus marlatti

Phoenicococcus marlatti Cockerell

Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Hemimetabola, Hemiptera, Sternorrhyncha, Coccomorpha, Coccoidea, Phoenicococcidae.

Common name: Red date scale.

Geographical distribution: World-wide, wherever date palms are grown.

Host plants: Members of the genus Phoenix (palms).

Morphology: The body of the female is reddish, rounded, slightly pear-shaped, about 1.3 mm in length. It bears a white marginal fringe. The males lack wings.

Life cycle: The scale apparently raises four annual generations, although its biology has not been studied in the Middle East. It usually infests the bases of the rachis and does not occur on the apices of the pinnae.

Economic importance: The red date scale is usually regarded as a minor pest, but in Egypt it is an economic pest of date palm. When it occurs in large numbers on young trees it can retard their growth, causing stunting and even decline. The pest’s feeding on date pinnae causes their wilting.

Management: Due to hiding deep within palm trees, chemical control (if necessary) is not recommended, but sanitation of seedlings during planting may reduce the pest’s populations.

Biological control: In Egypt this scale is attacked by two coccinellid, Pharoscymnus varius (Kirsch) and Scymnus punetillum Weise.


Blumberg, D. 2008. REVIEW: date palm arthropod pests and their management in Israel. Phytoparasitica 36: 411–44.8

Carpenter, J.B. and Elmer, H.S. 1978. Pests and diseases of the date palm. ARS, USDA Agriculture Handbook 527: 1-42.

Moustafa, M. 2012. Host plant, distribution and natural enemies of the red date scale insect, Phoenicococcus marlatti (Hemiptera: Phoenicococcidae) and its infestation status in Egypt. The Journal of Basic & Applied Zoology 65: 4-8.

Sinacori, A. 1995. Phoenicococcus marlatti (Cockerell) (Homoptera: Phoenicococcidae) (on Phoenix) in Sicily. Phytophaga 6: 55-61.