Phenacoccus gossypii Townsend and Cockerell



Common name

Mexican mealybug

Field characters

We expect the field appearance of this species to be the same as for P. madeirensis, but it has not been recorded in the literature.

Validation characters

Cerarii-like aggregations on anterior abdomen, thorax, and head, but not on dorsomedial areas of abdominal segments VI and VII; dorsal multilocular disk pores present in mediolateral areas of thorax; dorsal oral-collar tubular ducts scattered over surface; quinquelocular pores abundant on ventral surface; 18 pairs of cerarii; denticle on claw; antennae 9-segmented.


In most cases, literature referring to this species actually pertains to Phenacoccus madeirensis; P. gossypii is relatively rare. Phenacoccus gossypii is very similar to P. franseriae and P. madeirensis by having dorsal multilocular pores and dorsal oral-collar tubular ducts; cerarii on medial or mediolateral areas of dorsum; numerous quinquelocular pores; and a mushroom-shaped circulus. Phenacoccus gossipi differs by having mediolateral multilocular pores on the thorax, whereas P. franseriae and P. madeirensis lack multiloculars in this area.

U.S. quarantine notes

This species was intercepted 14 times at U. S. ports-of-entry between 1995 and 2012, with specimens originating from Canada, and Mexico. Although P. gossypii has been identified hundreds of times from quarantine interceptions, these determinations are mostly misidentifications of P. madeirensis. ScaleNet lists the species from 13 families of host plants, and distribution records include Mexico and Florida in The United States of America, and countries in the Neotropical and Palaearctic zoogeographical regions. We suspect that many of these are based on misidentifications of P. madeirensis. Several species of Phenacoccus other than P. defectus Ferris, P. franseriae Ferris, P. gossypii, P. hakeae Williams, P. helianthi (Cockerell), P. madeirensis Green, P. parvus Morrison, P. solani Ferris, P. solenopsis Tinsley and P. stelli (Brain) have been taken at U. S. ports-of-entry. However we suspect that at least some of them are in fact misidentifications of P. madeirensis, including: P. alleni McKenzie (Mexico, on Artemisia); P. avenae Borchsenius (Turkey, on Stachys); P. azaleae Kuwana (Japan, on azalea); P. graminicola Leonardi (New Zealand, on Feijoa); P. hurdi McKenzie (Mexico, on Dendranthema and Capsicum); P. indicus Avasthi & Shafee (Thailand, on Euphorbia); P. multicerarii Granara de Willink (Mexico, on unknown host); P. manihoti Matile-Ferrero (Central Africa and South America, on Manihot); P. nephelii Takahashi (Thailand, on Garcinia; Vietnam, on Nephelium); P. pergandei Cockerell (Japan and Korea, on Diospyros, Magnolia, Malus, Prunus, Punica, and Rhododendron); and P. persimplex Borchsenius (Kazakhstan, on Malus).

Important references

Willia1987c; WilliaGr1992.

Scalenet catalog and citation list

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  Phenacoccus gossypii   Illustration by Douglas Williams

Phenacoccus gossypii
Illustration by Douglas Williams

  Phenacoccus gossypii

Phenacoccus gossypii