, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 31–40 | Cite as

Host selection and establishment of striped mealybug, Ferrisia virgata, on cotton cultivars

  • Christian Sherley Araújo da Silva-Torres
  • Martin Duarte de Oliveira
  • Jorge Braz Torres


The striped mealybug, Ferrisia virgata (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae), is a polyphagous and cosmopolitan species, which attacks a wide variety of crops, including cotton. Lately, it has been found infesting colored fiber cotton and emerging as an important pest in the Northeast of Brazil. Therefore, this study investigated the effects of colonization, establishment, plant distribution and dispersal of F. virgata on cotton cultivars. Preference experiments were set up in the laboratory and in the greenhouse, in which cultivars were offered simultaneously to nymphs or females and the number of insects on each cultivar was counted after 24 h, 48 h, 22 days and 60 days, respectively. Meanwhile, attack of different plant structures and dispersal were investigated under field conditions. Results showed that F. virgata is able to become established on colored cotton fiber cultivars (BRS Verde, BRS Rubi, and BRS Safira) as well as on white cotton cultivars (BRS 201 and CNPA 7H) without showing any preference among these cultivars. Females produce a large number of offspring to enhance nymph survival and host plant colonization, since the number of first instars successfully established after migration is low (<10%). In addition, its short range dispersal can easily occur from plant to plant. Therefore, strategies to manage F. virgata will be needed to facilitate colored cotton production, especially in organic farms infested by this mealybug species.


Colonization Host plant Preference Reproduction 



We thank Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) Foundation through the Programa Nacional de Pós-Doutorado—PNPD and the Fundação de Amparo à Ciência e Tecnologia do Estado de Pernambuco (FACEPE) for providing grants to the first and second author, respectively, and research funds to conduct this work. The authors thank Robert W. Matthews (University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA) for his editorial suggestions on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Sherley Araújo da Silva-Torres
    • 1
  • Martin Duarte de Oliveira
    • 1
  • Jorge Braz Torres
    • 1
  1. 1.DEPA-EntomologiaUniversidade Federal Rural de PernambucoRecifeBrazil

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