Monophlebulus pilosior (Maskell, 1893)
Giant Mealy Bug
(previously known as Monophlebus crawfordi pilosior)
MARGARODIDAE ,   STERNORRHYNCHA ,   COCCOIDEA ,   HEMIPTERA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com )
and
Stella Crossley


(Photo: courtesy of Terry Calderwood, Maitland)

These grubs are not Caterpillars, but are insects in the family MARGARODIDAE. They often appear mainly white because they secrete an outer layer of wax, which controls their water loss and may disguise them.


(Photo: courtesy of Sharon Adnum, Bowral)

They feed by sucking sap from the host plant through a tubular mouth that is poked into the plant. Many species are fussy, and only attack particular plants.


(Photo: courtesy of Todd Burrows, South Stradbroke Island)

They grow to a length of about 1 cm. They are often attended by ants as they exude excess sugar syrup. The syrup is also deposited on the leaves, which then can become mouldy, reducing the light reaching the leaves The mould, the loss of nutrients, and the injection of poisons into the plant all damage infected plants.

The species has been found in

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales, and
  • Victoria.

    Further reading :

    Harold Morrison & Emily Morrison,
    The scale insects of the subfamilies Monophlebinae and Margarodinae treated by Maskell,
    Proceedings of the United States National Museum, No. 2463 (9 June 1923), pp.1-47

    Linda Sulakatku and Shona Hocknull,
    You Asked, Q & A,
    Metamorphosis Australia, Issue 62 (September 2011), pp. 35-36,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.


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    (updated 16 September 2010, 1 March 2014)