Trioza erytreae (Hemiptera: Triozidae)
Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri
Immature psyllids are sometimes confused with aphids and whitefly pupae.
United States: Not known to occur.
Worldwide: Africa, Madeira, Saudi Arabia, Portugal, and Yemen.
Native to Africa.
The African citrus psyllid is extremely temperature sensitive and will not develop at temperatures exceeding 25 °C (77 °F). Their lifespan is 17 - 50 days, and females are capable of laying up to 2000 eggs during their lifetime. Nine to ten generations may occur per year. Eggs are laid on the leaf margins of young citrus foliage. The nymphs emerge from small cup-like pit galls to congregate, feed, and mature on the underside of the leaves. The African citrus psyllid prefers cool and humid conditions, whereas the Asian citrus psyllid prefers lower elevations and warmer areas.
The African citrus psyllid is an extremely efficient vector of citrus greening (Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus), a highly virulent and fatal bacterial disease that inhabits the food transport tissue (phloem-limited) of citrus trees. Common symptoms of citrus greening are mottling and yellowing (chlorosis) of the leaves that can resemble some nutrient deficiencies, especially zinc deficiency. Trees are frequently stunted and have partial defoliation. Twig dieback, leaf and fruit drop, and off-season blooming are other common symptoms. The fruit is affected as well, appearing misshapen, improperly colored, and with a bitter taste.
All phloem-feeding, honeydew-producing insect pests have the potential to be tended by ants. The ants feed on the honeydew excreted by the pest and protect the pest from natural enemies. This protection can disrupt biological control programs.
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