Up until now, on a scale of 1 to 10, practical pest control management ranks about a "1" with regard to the availability of information on scale insects in Iran! Yet even the most basic tool for pest control management in Iran has been unavailable jeopardizing crop yields. Dr. Masumeh Moghaddam of the Iranian Research Institute of Plant Protection, Tehran has changed that by publishing the first ever detailed annotated checklist of the scale insects of Iran.
This publication features 275 insect species from 13 families of the Coccoidea superfamily of the order Homoptera. Most of these parasitic insects are known to impart serious economic damage to crops making the identification and control of them very important to agricultural interests.
The Coccoidea family is made up of 49 families of roughly 8,000 species. Scale insects permanently attach to plant parts, pierce them, envelope themselves in a waxy coating for defense and suck the sap and moisture right out of the plant. This ultimately degrades or even destroys the plant. The waxy coating makes it difficult for many insecticides to penetrate their shell. They will reproduce and stack one on the other to resemble the scales of a fish or reptile. Most varieties of these parasites emerge from their eggs free moving. They totter around for an attractive spot onto which they latch. Once secure, they lose their legs and hunker down.
The new Iran specific study individually lists the locally identified scale insect species, their regional data and host plants. It is anticipated that this information will help Iranian growers gain stronger area knowledge of the Coccoidea familyâ€™s plant intrusion for resulting improvements in crop health. The new study is published in Zookeys.
Photo by GEF Small Grants Programme.