Sunday, August 18, 2019

A new lophopid planthopper species, named Virgiliacocovora, was discovered in Compostela Valley and reported to infest coconut trees.

The team of Mario V. Navaseroof the National Crop Protection Center visited the area last February 2016 and observed that thecoconut trees were having a symptom of yellowing from tip to near base of leaflets on affected fronds; those with severe infestation have leaves that appear brownish to brown in color, which will result to drying up. Also, damaged fronds had presence of profuse growth of sooty molds, and severely damaged trees showed reduced nut production.

This finding, published in the Zootaxalast April 27, is important because the new species could be a threat to the coconut industry. After the devastating damage by the coconut scale insect, coconut farmers do not deserve another pest outbreak. The identification of this new pest could provide a way of managing it.

According to the researchers, Virgiliacocovoradoes not transmit diseases, but is involved because of its feeding habits; andappears therefore to damage the plant tissue, making it vulnerable to drying and lowering of the plant vigor.

Furthermore, another new species of lophopid planthopper was described from Imugan, Nueva Vizcaya; however, no report of their damage has been recorded. This new species was discovered from the collection of Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France and Zoology Museum collection in Amsterdam.

For a complete description of the new species, see Soulier-Perkins A, Navasero M, Yap S and MR Wilson. 2018. New species for Virgilia Stål, 1870 (Hemiptera, Lophopidae), genus review and key to species. Zootaxa volume 4415 series 1 pages 135–149.