Palmaspis phoenicis (Ramachandra Rao)



Common name

Date palm pit scale

Field characters

Test elongate, tapering from widest area on thorax to more slender abdomen with constriction near center of abdomen; strongly convex in lateral view; test pale yellow to bright green posteriorly, brown or violet anteriorly; body covered by translucent test with transverse striations. Marginal areas with white wax filaments; submarginal areas with a few short filaments. Occurring on leaf stalks, leaves, and fruit.

Validation characters

Dorsal 8-shaped ducts present on submargin on anterior abdomen, thorax, and head; 2 anal-ring setae; marginal 8-shaped pores forming continuous single band on head, thorax, and anterior abdomen; quinquelocular pores present near spiracles and in submarginal areas near spiracles, absent from posterior end of body; multilocular pores absent from vulvar area; discoidal pores scattered over dorsum but not forming submarginal row. Other characters: Legs absent; antennae 1-segmented; without a pygidium; 8-shaped pores prevalent.


Palmaspis phoenicis is unique by having dorsosubmarginal 8-shaped tubular ducts and 2 anal ring setae.

U.S. quarantine notes

This species was intercepted 68 times at U. S. ports-of-entry between 1995 and 2012, with specimens originating from Algeria, India, Israel, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and The United Arab Emirates. We also have examined specimens taken in quarantine from Egypt (Phoenix); India (Phoenix); Iran (Phoenix); Lebanon (Phoenix); Pakistan (Phoenix); Saudi Arabia (Phoenix); and The United Arab Emirates (Phoenix). ScaleNet lists it only on the date palm Phoenix dactylifera.Palmaspis phoenicis is apparently native to date growing areas. Several species of Palmaspis other than P. inlabefacta (Russell) and P. phoenicis have been occasionally taken at U. S. ports-of-entry including: P. bicircularis Stumpf & Lambdin (Jamaica, on palm); P. boliviae (Ecuador, on palm); P. difficilis (Russell) (Panama and Costa Rica, on palm); P. distincta (Russell) (Honduras, on Ceiba); P. palmae (Cockerell) (Jamaica and Puerto Rico, on palm; Panama, on Chamaedorea); P. similis (Russell) (Jamaica, on palm; Honduras, on Ceiba); P. truncata (Russell) (Costa Rica, on Attalea); P. urichi (Cockerell) (Brazil, on Guilielma).

Important references

KehatAm1967; Russel1941.

Scalenet catalog and citation list

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  Palmasips phoenicis   Illustration by Benson

Palmasips phoenicis
Illustration by Benson

  Palmaspis phoenicis

Palmaspis phoenicis