Aspidiotus rigidus

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damage to coconut palms caused by Aspidiotus rigidus (click on image to enlarge it)
Author: Gerry Carner, Clemson University, South Carolina, U.S.A.

Aspidiotus rigidus Reyne, 1947 - (false coconut scale)

This scale insect is found in south-eastern Asia. It is closely related to the true coconut scale, Aspidiotus destructor and was originally described as Aspidiotus destructor rigidus. The host plants of A. rigidus are mainly coconut and other palms, like for A. destructor. Both species can cause serious outbreaks in coconut plantations. For example, A. rigidus outbreaks have been reported from northern Sulawesi, Indonesia during 1925-1928 and from the Philippines since 2009.

In the Philippines A. rigidus is called "cocolisap" and has caused devastating outbreaks in the coconut plantations of southern Luzon (the Calabarzon area) and on the island of Basilan, off the south-western part of the island of Mindanao. More than 2 million coconut palms were affected with severe yellowing of the leaves and significant loss in nut production.

Differences between A. rigidus and A. destructor

The main differences between both species have been described by Reyne (1948) and Watson et al. (2015). They include:

  • most parts of the body of A. rigidus have a thicker cuticle which is visible after staining (see below),
  • A. rigidus but not A. destructor attacks mangosteen,
  • males of A. rigidus are yellowish, those of A. destructor reddish
  • there are morphological differences in the pygidium, the tip of the abdomen (see below).