Cassava Mealybug, Phenacoccus Manihoti Matile-Ferrero (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae)
This is one of many insects that came to the attention of science only after it had been inadvertently transported and established on a new continent. In the early 1970s, mealybug infestations suddenly devastated cassava (in French: ‘manioc’) in the Congo and what is today the Democratic Republic of Congo, around the two capitals Brazzaville and Kinshasa, respectively. From there, this new plague spread rapidly, at a speed of over 100 km per year. It got new footholds in Nigeria, near the border to Benin, then on the border between Gambia and Senegal, and within a few years had covered the entire cassava growing area of Africa from Senegal to Ethiopia and to South Africa. By the mid-1990s, only the Indian Ocean Islands including Madagascar were still free of this pest, and they have remained so up to today (2001).
Wherever this mealybug, which was newly described as Phenacoccus manihotiMatile-Ferrero, and belonging to the family Pseudoccocidae, turned up it became the most important...
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