Coconut Palm Pests
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Early damage to a young coconut by Aceria guerreronis Keifer, a coconut mite. Note the pale triangular area. Fig. 1
Early damage to a young coconut by A. guerreronis Keifer, a coconut mite. Note the pale triangular area.

Palm Leaf Skeletonizer
Fig. 6 
Palm leaf Skeletonizer adult
 
Coconut Scale, Aspidiotus destructor Signoret Fig. 12
Coconut scale, Aspidiotus destructor Signoret, showing eggs, nymphs and exuviae, and adult female with cover removed 

The telltale red ring seen here in a cross-section of a palm indicates that this particular tree is infested by red ring nematode, Bursaphelenchus cocophilus. Fig. 18
The telltale red ring seen here in a cross-section of a palm indicates that this particular tree is infested by red ring nematode, B. cocophilus.

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A number of pests, including several kinds of scale, palm aphid, spider mites, mealybugs, palm weevils and caterpillars, are occasionally found, but usually do not require control measures.
Nematodes may infest this palm.



Coconut Mite

Aceria guerreronis Keifer (Fig.1)

The coconut mite, Aceria guerreronis, is considered the most important pest of coconuts in the Americas, Africa and most recently in South-East Asia. Although its exact origin is debatable it is likely to be native to South America and introduced to Africa and Asia, where it is an invasive species (Navia et al., 2005).
The coconut varieties most common in Florida and the Caribbean, viz., 'Jamaica Tall', 'Panama Tall', 'Malayan Golden Dwarf', 'Malayan Yellow Dwarf', and 'Malayan Green Dwarf' are all highly susceptible to coconut mite. 1

Early damage in a broader area to a young coconut by Aceria guerreronis Keifer, a coconut mite. Credit: J. V. DeFilippis, University of FloridaCoconuts with damage by coconut mite, Aceria guerreronis Keifer.A Red Spicata Dwarf' coconut palm, Cocos nucifera L., with damage from Aceria guerreronis Keifer, a coconut mite.
Fig. 2 Fig. 3 Fig. 4 
Coconut mite damage on fruits of coconut.
Fig. 5 

Fig. 2. Early damage in a broader area to a young coconut by A. guerreronis Keifer, a coconut mite
Fig. 3. Coconuts with damage by coconut mite, A. guerreronis Keifer
Fig. 4.  A Red Spicata Dwarf' coconut palm, C. nucifera L., with damage from A. guerreronis Keifer, a coconut mite
Fig. 5. Coconut mite damage on fruits of coconut

Further Reading
A Coconut Mite, Aceria guerreronis Keifer from the University of Florida  pdf 6 pages



Palm Leaf Skeletonizer
(Fig. 6)
Homaledra sabalella (Chambers)

Caterpillars feed on the upper and lower leaf surfaces, producing large quantities of " frass" that is often the first conspicuous sign of infestation. Tissue between the leaf veins is usually the preferred food, whereby the veins remain intact giving the leaf a skeltetonized appearance.
In Florida, larvae are present throughout the year and complete five generations per year in northern Florida.
Current control recommendations may be obtained from your local County Agent. 2

Palm Leaf Skeletonizer Adult on Palm LeafEarly Instar Larva
Fig. 7 Adult  Fig. 8 Early instar larva Florida red scale Chrysomphalus aonidum (Linnaeus)
Late Instar LavaPalm Leaf Skeletonizer Damage to Cocos nucifera (pinnate palm)Palm Leaf Skeletonizer Damage to Washingtonia robusta (palmate palm)
Fig. 9 Late instar larva Florida red scale Chrysomphalus aonidum (Linnaeus)Fig. 10 Florida red scale Chrysomphalus aonidum (Linnaeus) Fig. 11

The pattern of damage by this insect is different on palmate vs. pinnate palms.
Fig. 10. Palm leaf skeletonizer damage to C. nucifera (pinnate palm)
Fig. 11. Palm leaf skeletonizer damage to Washingtonia robusta (palmate palm)

Further Reading
Palm Leaf Skeletonizer from the University of Florida Okeechobee Extension pdf
The Palm Leaf Skeletonizer, Homaledra sabalella: 2007 Status and Potential Pest Management Options pdf 4 pages



Coconut Scale

Aspidiotus destructor Signoret (Fig. 12)
 
The coconut scale is among the most damaging of all armored scale insects (Beardsley, 1970). This pest is usually found in densely massed colonies on the lower surfaces of leaves, except in extremely heavy infestations where it may be present on both sides. It may also be found on petioles, peduncles and fruits. Mature scales are found on the older leaves. Infestations are typically associated with yellowing of the leaves in areas where the scales are present. The yellowing is caused by the removal of sap by the sucking mouth parts and the toxic effects of the saliva that kills the surrounding tissues at the feeding site (Waterhouse & Norris, 1987). 3
Coconut scale, A. destructor Signoret (Hemiptera: Diaspididae), is a pest in over 60 plant families and is found globally in tropical and subtropical areas (Davidson and Miller 1990, Ben-Dov 2014). This armored scale was described by Signoret in 1869 and appears to be native to South Asia but has spread around the world, mainly on infested coconut and banana (UK CAB International 1966). The insect feeds on plant sap from leaves, stems and fruits, causing yellowing, tissue distortion and die back. The coconut scale is a pest of concern on coconut and other perennial crops due to its relatively short life cycle of around 35 days and multiple overlapping generations per year. Coconut scale is known to be dispersed by birds, bats and insects as well as wind (Taylor 1935). 3

Adult female coconut scale, Aspidiotus destructor Signoret, showing eggs under coverCoconut scale, Aspidiotus destructor Signoret, male pupa removed from cover.Coconut scale, Aspidiotus destructor Signoret, female pupa removed from cover.
Fig. 13 Fig. 14 Fig. 15
Adult male coconut scale, Aspidiotus destructor SignoretUnderside of mango leaf infested with coconut scale, Aspidiotus destructor Signoret
Fig. 16 Fig. 17

Fig. 13. Adult female coconut scale, A. destructor Signoret, showing eggs under cover
Fig. 14. Coconut scale, Aspidiotus destructor Signoret, male pupa removed from cover
Fig. 15. Adult female coconut scale, Aspidiotus destructor Signoret, removed from cover
Fig. 16. Adult male coconut scale, Aspidiotus destructor Signoret
Fig. 17. Underside of mango leaf infested with coconut scale, Aspidiotus destructor Signoret

Further Reading
Coconut Scale (Aspidiotus destructor Signoret) from the University of Hawaii at Manoa pdf
Coconut Scale Aspidiotus destructor Signoret  from the University of Florida pdf 6 pages



Red Ring Nematode
(Fig.18)
Bursaphelenchus cocophilus

B. cocophilus causes red ring disease of palms. Symptoms of red ring disease were first described on Trinidad coconut palms in 1905. Red ring disease can appear in several species of tropical palms, including date, Canary Island date and Cuban royal, but is most common in oil and coconut palms. The red ring nematode parasitizes the palm weevil Rhynchophorus palmarum L., which is attracted to fresh trunk wounds and acts as a vector for B. cocophilus to uninfected trees. 4
Although B. cocophilus and R. palmarum are not found in Florida, some other potential beetle vectors of the red ring nematode, Metamasius hemipterus and Rhynchophorus cruentatus, are common in Florida. If the nematode were introduced to Florida, an epidemic could potentially occur. Therefore, this nematode is of great regulatory concern. 4

Smaller-than-usual and dying leaves are one of the symptoms of red ring disease, caused by the red ring nematode Bursaphelenchus cocophilusThe palm weevil Rhynchophorus palmarum acts as the primary vector for red ring nematode, Bursaphelenchus cocophilus, which causes red ring disease in coconut and oil palms
Fig. 19 Fig. 20

Fig. 19. Smaller-than-usual and dying leaves are one of the symptoms of red ring disease, caused by the red ring nematode B. cocophilus
Fig. 20. The palm weevil Rhynchophorus palmarum acts as the primary vector for red ring nematode, B. cocophilus, which causes red ring disease in coconut and oil palms

Further Reading
Red Ring Nematode, Bursaphelenchus cocophilus (Cobb) Baujard formerly Rhadinaphelenchus cocophilus from the University of Florida pdf 4 pages

Bibliography

1 Howard, F.W. and Moore, Dave. "A Coconut Mite, Aceria guerreronis Keifer (Arachnida: Acari: Eriophyidae)." edis.ifas.ufl.edu. This document is EENY-398 (IN709), one of a series of Featured Creatures from the Entomology and Nematology Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Published December 2006. Reviewed Jan. 2016. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.
2 Redford, A. J., T.W. Walters, A.C. Hodges, F.W. Howard, and M.D. Trice. "Palm Leaf Skeletonizer." itp.lucidcentral.org/id/palms/resource/index.html. Screening Aid to Pests. In A Resource for Pests and Diseases of Cultivated Palms. Identification Technology Program, CPHST, PPQ, APHIS, USDA; Fort Collins, CO. 2010. Web. 26 Apr. 2014.
3 Salahud din and Arthurs, Steven P. "Coconut Scale Aspidiotus destructor Signoret (Insecta: Hemiptera: Diaspididae)."edis.ifas.ufl.edu.. This document is EENY622, one of a series of the Entomology and Nematology Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Publication date Mar. 2015. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.
4 Brammer, A.S. and Crow, W.T. "Red Ring Nematode, Bursaphelenchus cocophilus (Cobb) Baujard (Nematoda: Secernentea: Tylenchida: Aphelenchina: Aphelenchoidea: Bursaphelechina) formerly Rhadinaphelenchus cocophilus." edis.ifas.ufl.edu. This document is EENY236, one of a series of the Entomology and Nematology Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date September 2001. Reviewed August 2014. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.

Photographs

Fig. 1,2 Howard, F.W.  A Coconut Mite, Aceria guerreronis Keifer (Arachnida: Acari: Eriophyidae). N.d. University of Florida. edis.ifas.ufl.edu.. Web. 1 May 2014.
Fig. 3,4 DeFilippis, J. V. A Coconut Mite, Aceria guerreronis Keifer (Arachnida: Acari: Eriophyidae). N.d.University of Florida-IFAS. edis.ifas.ufl.edu.. Web. 1 May 2014.
Fig. 5 Broschat, T. K. Coconut mite damage on fruits of coconut. N.d. University of Florida-IFAS. bugwood.org. Web. 1 May 2014.
Fig. 6 Howard, F.W. Palm Leaf Skeletonizer Adult. N.d. University of Florida. edis.ifas.ufl.edu.. Web. 4 Sept. 2014.
Fig. 7,8 Hollenbeck, Jeff. Palm Leaf Skeletonizer. 2010. Screening Aid to Pests. In A Resource for Pests and Diseases of Cultivated Palms. itp.lucidcentral.org/id/palms/resource/index.html. Web. 26 Apr. 2014.
Fig.9 White, Machele. Palm Leaf Skeletonizer. 2010. Screening Aid to Pests. In A Resource for Pests and Diseases of Cultivated Palms. itp.lucidcentral.org/id/palms/resource/index.html. Web. 26 Apr. 2014.
Fig.10,11 Howard, F.W. Palm Leaf Skeletonizer. 2010. Screening Aid to Pests. In A Resource for Pests and Diseases of Cultivated Palms. itp.lucidcentral.org/id/palms/resource/index.html. Web. 26 Apr. 2014.
Fig. 12,13,14,15,16,17 Salahud din. Adult female coconut scale, Aspidiotus destructor Signoret, showing eggs under cover. N.d. University of Florida. edis.ifas.ufl.edu.. Web. 1 May 2014.
Fig. 18,19 Red Ring Nematode, Bursaphelenchus cocophilus (Cobb) Baujard (Nematoda: Secernentea: Tylenchida: Aphelenchina: Aphelenchoidea: Bursaphelechina) formerly Rhadinaphelenchus cocophilus. N.d. Society of Nematologists slide collection. edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Web. 13 May 2014.
Fig. 20 Zunke, Ulrich. Red Ring Nematode, Bursaphelenchus cocophilus (Cobb) Baujard (Nematoda: Secernentea: Tylenchida: Aphelenchina: Aphelenchoidea: Bursaphelechina) formerly Rhadinaphelenchus cocophilus. N.d. University of Hamburg. edis.ifas.ufl.edu.. Web. 13 May 2014.

Published 1 May 2014 LR. Last update 24 Apr. 2017 LR
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