Weed hosts of cotton mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae).J Environ Biol. 2013 Mar; 34(2):153-8.JE
The exotic cotton mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) invaded India during 2006, and caused widespread infestation across all nine cotton growing states. P. solenopsis also infested weeds that aided its faster spread and increased severity across cotton fields. Two year survey carried out to document host plants of P. solenopsis between 2008 and 2010 revealed 27, 83, 59 and 108 weeds belonging to 8, 18, 10 and 32 families serving as alternate hosts at North, Central, South and All India cotton growing zones, respectively. Plant species of four families viz., Asteraceae, Amaranthaceae, Malvaceae and Lamiaceae constituted almost 50% of the weed hosts. While 39 weed species supported P. solenopsis multiplication during the cotton season, 37 were hosts during off season. Higher number of weeds as off season hosts (17) outnumbering cotton season (13) at Central over other zones indicated the strong carryover of the pest aided by weeds between two cotton seasons. Six, two and seven weed hosts had the extreme severity of Grade 4 during cotton, off and cotton + off seasons, respectively. Higher number of weed hosts of P. solenopsis were located at roadside: South (12) > Central (8) > North (3) zones. Commonality of weed hosts was higher between C+S zones, while no weed host was common between N+S zones. Paper furnishes the wide range of weed hosts of P. solenopsis, discusses their significance, and formulated general and specific cultural management strategies for nationwide implementation to prevent its outbreaks.