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The biology and taxonomy of Hyperaspis pantherina and the classical biological control of its prey, Orthezia insignis

, : The biology and taxonomy of Hyperaspis pantherina and the classical biological control of its prey, Orthezia insignis. Bulletin of Entomological Research 85(3): 307-314

Between 1908 and 1959, the predatory coccinellid, Hyperaspis pantherina Fursch, was released for the biological control of the ensign scale Orthezia insignis Browne in Hawaii, four African countries and Peru. Substantial control was reported after all the releases, although the outcome was disputed in Malawi. Other coccinellid species and predatory Diptera were released against Orthezia spp. in various programs from 1952 to 1977. In most cases these agents failed to establish, and there were no reported effects on the target Orthezia spp. In 1993, H. pantherina was released in St. Helena for the control of O. insignis on the endemic gumwood tree, Commidendrum robustum (Compositae). Preparatory investigations for this release revealed that the taxonomy and biology of this biocontrol agent were poorly known. Hyperaspis pantherina is redescribed and shown to be the correct name for the species previously known incorrectly as H. jocosa (Mulsant). Hyperaspis laeta Gorham and H. levrati (Mulsant) are transferred to the genus Cyra Mulsant (comb. n.). Hyperaspis metator (Casey) (stat. rev.) is resurrected from synonymy with H. levrati auctt. Studies of the life history revealed that H. pantherina normally lays its eggs directly onto the adult female O. insignis and that the first two instars of the larvae are frequently passed inside the ovisac of the female host, after which the host itself is often consumed. The information on the biology and taxonomy of H. pantherina, together with details of culturing methods, should facilitate the further use of this agent for the classical biological control of O. insignis, a pantropical pest.


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