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Citrus Pests


Seychelles scale


Scientific name


Icerya seychellarum (Hemiptera: Margarodidae)

Other common names


iceplant scale

Similar species


Because of the waxy coating, the Seychelles scale may be confused with some species of mealybugs in the family Pseudococcidae.



United States: not known to occur.

Worldwide: Africa, Australia, Columbia, French Guiana, India, Madagascar, the Pacific Islands, and Southeast Asia.

Native to the Indo-Pacific region.

Diagnostic characteristics

  • Females are covered in white to yellow powdery wax.
  • Body is orange to dark red with areas of bright yellow.
  • Long, fine silky hairs projecting from body.
  • Eyes apparent.
  • Legs and antennae are apparent and black.
  • Double row of rounded plates on either side of an anterior to posterior central ridge occuring on the dorsum.
  • Ovisac present.
  • Mobile.
  • Males are rarely seen when present, but are red-bodied and winged.


Citrus hosts
  • All Citrus species and their hybrids.
Non-citrus hosts

Very wide host range. In addition to forest and ornamental species, agricultural crops and weeds are widely used as host plants. A partial list includes:

  • African oil palm, Elaeis guineensis
  • avocado, Persea americana
  • banana, Musa spp.
  • bean, Phaseolus vulgaris
  • carambola, Averrhoa carambola
  • coconut, Cocos nucifera
  • coffee, Coffea spp.
  • Crotalaria spp.
  • fig, Ficus spp.
  • guava, Psidium guajava
  • Hibiscus spp.
  • jackfruit, Artocarpus heterophylla and A. incisa
  • jasmine, Jasminum spp.
  • lettuce, Lactuca sativa
  • loquat, Eriobotrya japonica
  • lychee, Litchi chinensis
  • mango, Mangifera indica
  • morning glory, Convolvulus spp.
  • peach, Prunus spp.
  • pear, Pyrus spp.
  • pepper, Capsicum spp.
  • Plumeria spp.
  • pomegranate, Punica granatum
  • tea, Camellia sinensis
  • strawberry, Fragaria spp.
  • sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas
  • tomato, Solanum lycopersicum
  • trifoliate orange, Poncirus trifoliata

Host damage

  • Occasionally infested.
  • Honeydew excreted by scales coats the outside of fruit and promotes the growth of sooty mold fungus that inhibits photosynthesis, weakens the plant, and makes fruit unattractive.
  • Can be found on stems and near the midribs and on the undersides of older leaves.
  • Can cause yellowing and premature loss.
  • Primarily infests stems.
  • Young shoots can be killed when heavily infested by scales.



Adults can be found on the branches or trunks of trees. Females have both male and female sexual organs (hermaphrodites) and can produce female offspring asexually through parthenogenesis. Eggs are contained within an ovisac attached to the body of the female. Mobile crawlers hatch from the eggs, disperse to a suitable leaf vein, and begin to feed. Seychelles scales retain their legs, eyes, and antennae for their entire life and remain mobile. Older instars move to the twigs, branches, or the trunk to feed. Males are rare and exist in the species to allow the scale to reproduce sexually producing both females and males. Seychelles scales can have multiple generations per year.



All phloem-feeding, honeydew-producing 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.



Butcher, C.F. 1983. Cottony cushion scale, Seychelles scale, and Egyptian fluted scale. Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Auckland, New Zealand. (

(CABI) Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International. 2012. Plantwise: pest map for Icerya seychellarum. (

Hill, D.S. 2009. Pests of crops in warmer climates and their control. Springer-Verlag, New York.



Weeks, J.A., A.C. Hodges, and N.C. Leppla


Citrus Pests
Content last updated June, 2012