Printer Friendly

Bauhinia variegata (Fabaceae) dieback caused by Praelongorthezia praelonga (Hemiptera: Ortheziidae).

Tree species used in urban forestry are more predisposed to phytophagous insects and diseases due to the stress caused by air pollution, poor soils, and urban microclimate (Fluckinger & Braun 1999). Bauhinia variegata L. (Fabacaeae), is one of the most commonly used exotic trees for urban forestry and landscaping in Brazil. It is a semideciduous species, a native of India, and introduced for use in gardens and sidewalks (Lorenzi et al. 2003).

Bauhinia variegata has moderate growth, tolerates frost, and can reach up to 10 m in height (Lorenzi et al. 2003). This plant can grow on most soil types and starts to bloom when 2 to 3 yr old (Bhardwaj et al. 2015). Bauhinia variegata has antibacterial (Mishra et al. 2013) and antifungal properties (Bach et al. 2014), and is used in grazing areas (Habib et al. 2016), biomonitoring of environmental pollution (Fleck et al. 2016; Cardoso et al. 2017), and health treatments (Abbasi et al. 2015; Chan & Ng 2015; Kulkarni & Garud 2016).

Herbivorous insects may damage trees, especially when cropped in monoculture systems, in regions with their host plant target-species (Zanuncio et al. 1993, 2003). Phytophagous arthropods feeding on B. variegata include mites (Daud et al. 2007), the seed borer Caryedon serratus (Olivier) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) (Nilsson & Johnson 1992), the twig girdler Oncideres saga (Dalman) (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) (Peres Filho et al. 1992), and the mealybug Praelongorthezia praelonga (Douglas) (Hemiptera: Ortheziidae) (Garcia 1999).

Praelongorthezia praelonga is a polyphagous species, and feeds on plant species from more than 30 families, including citrus and ornamental plants (Kondo et al. 2013). This mealybug damages plants directly by feeding, and indirectly by inducing sooty mold formation on the leaves (Kondo et al. 2013). Outbreaks of this insect can deplete the host sap, leaving plants weak, and even killing them (Kondo et al. 2013). Praelongorthezia praelonga is native from Central and South America, and this large geographical range makes this pest a potential invasive species in other areas, as reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Kondo et al. 2013).

Since the beginning of 2016, attack and mortality of B. variegata trees by P. praelonga have been observed in several regions of Montes Claros municipality, Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Here we reported the damage and potential mortality of B. variegata trees by P. praelonga in urban landscapes at Montes Claros, a region characterized by Cerrado region. Moreover, we document other insect species associated with the P. praelonga outbreak.

Seventeen B. variegata trees were surveyed alongan approximately 2,000 m long street in the Montes Claros City, Minas Gerais State, Brazil (16.751000[degrees]E, 43.885200[degrees]S; 643 masl). The first survey was carried out in Sep 2016 and the second, a yr later. The trees evaluated were of different ages, and were planted among other tree species. The diameter at 1.3 m from the ground of all trees evaluated (attacked or not) was measured with mm tape, and the tree height was estimated using a 1.5 m rod. The incidence, injury characteristics, mortality rate, and crown parts with P. praelonga also were evaluated on these trees.

The feeding behavior of P. praelonga and its damage on B. variegata leaves were observed during the evaluations. The P. praelonga damage severity was evaluated in the whole B. variegata tree, using a scale from 0 to 3: (0) no injuries and without mealybugs, (1) one-third of the crown attacked, (2) two-thirds of the crown attacked, and (3) crown completely attacked or tree death.

Insects feeding on honeydew produced by P. praelonga were sampled during the tree evaluations. Individuals of the mealybug P. praelonga and were collected from the leaves, killed, preserved in 70% ethanol, and sent to Ana Lucia Benfatti Gonzalez Peronti and Demian Takumasa Kondo of the Graduate Program in Agronomy of the Universidade Estadual Paulista, Jaboticabal, Sao Paulo, Brazil, for species identification.

The mean diameter and height of 17 B. variegata trees evaluated were 23.98 [+ or -] 1.63 (SE) cm and 6.02 [+ or -] 0.31 m, respectively.

Praelongorthezia praelonga individuals suck the sap on the abaxial B. variegata leaf parts or on its soft branches (Figs. 1B, 2A), leading to sap exudation (Fig. 1C) and sooty mold development. This mealybug also was observed on B. variegata trunks and fruits (Fig. 2B, C). When attacked, the plant leaves began to dry gradually (Fig. 1A) until abscission and, in some cases, the tree became totally dried and died, whereas the undamaged ones did not show these symptoms.

Praelongorthezia praelonga was found on 41.2% (n = 7) of B. variegata trees evaluated during 2016. The average damage severity caused by this insect in 2016 was level 1 (0-3 scale), with 23.5% of trees with level 3 infestation, 11.8% with level 2, 5.9% with level 1, and the remaining ones were uninjured (level 0). One tree died in the first yr (Fig. 2B). A total of 58.8% of the trees harbored this insect in 2017. Among trees attacked by P. praelonga, 35.3% of them displayed level 3 of infestation symptoms, whereas 17.6% displayed level 1. About 47.1% of the trees were uninjured. Mortality in 2017 reached 11.8%, with 2 dead trees displaying levels 2 and 3 in the previous yr.

Apis mellifera L (Hymenoptera: Apidae) and Trigona spinipes (F.) (Hymenoptera: Apidae) workers foraged on the nectar expelled on the adaxial side of B. variegata-damaged leaves (Fig. 1C), and on the P. praelonga honeydew.

The increase in the occurrence and damage severity by P. praelonga and the B. variegata tree mortality from 2016 to 2017 may be attributed to this pest, and the water deficit between 2015 and 2017 in Montes Claros increased this impact. However, the evaluation period was too short to evaluate the effects of precipitation on the incidence of this insect. Hydric deficit weakens plants, making them more vulnerable to sap-sucking insects such as mealybugs and scale insects (Koricheva & Larsson 1998). Tree mismanagement, such as poor pruning, may also have increased their stress (Christiansen & Fjone 1993; Langstrom &

Hellqvist 1993), and the lack of control and management may have additionally allowed P. praelonga populations to rise. Fallen dried leaves, carried by the wind with a large number of these mealybugs attached, are probably the principal dispersal mode of this pest to healthy trees.

The presence of P. praelonga on 41.2% and 58.8% of the B. variegata trees, resulting in 5.8 and 11.8% mortality in 2016 and 2017, respectively, strongly suggests the potential of this insect as a pest, as observed in almost 85% of B. variegata trees attacked in urban areas of Goiania municipality, Goias State, Brazil (Garcia 1999). Bauhinia variegata tree mortality reached 40% in this region after four consecutive years of damage by P. praelonga, including death of seedlings from this tree species (Garcia 1999). Praelongorthezia praelonga killed other tree species in urban forestry (e.g., Spathodea campanulata Beauv.; Bignoniaceae), as well as ornamental plants and citrus (Kondo et al. 2013).

The damage by P. praelonga endangers B. variegata trees used for urban forestation. The problems also include the sanitation costs (i.e., cutting down dead trees), removing tree debris from the streets, planting new trees, and the reduced aesthetic value of injured trees. The damage and mortality potential, and its easy dispersal, makes P. praelonga a possible quarantine pest in tropical countries that use their hosts in landscaping, forestry, or agriculture.


We thank Ana Lucia Peronti and Takumasa Kondo for insect identification, and the Brazilian institutions "Conselho Nacional de Desen-volvimento Cientffico e Tecnologico (CNPq)," "Coordenacao de Aperfeicoamento de Pessoal de Nivel Superior (CAPES/PELD)," "Fundacao de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG)," and "Programa Cooperativo sobre Protecao Florestal/PROTEF do Instituto de Pesquisas e Estudos Florestais/IPEF" for financial support.


Bauhinia variegata (Fabaceae), an exotic tree used in urban forestry and landscaping in Brazil, is predisposed to damage by phytophagous insects, especially under stress conditions. The mealybug Praelongorthezia praelonga (Douglas 1981) (Hemiptera: Ortheziidae) is a generalist pest. Here we report damage and potential mortality of B. variegata trees by P. praelonga in the urban environment at Montes Claros municipality, Minas Gerais State, Brazil. This insect damages the host directly through feeding, and indirectly by supporting growth of sooty mold over the leaves. A total of 17 B. variegata trees were surveyed in a main street of Montes Claros during 2016 and 2017. Praelongorthezia praelonga was observed in 41.2% of the trees in 2016, including 23.5% of them with the crown completely attacked, 11.8% with two-thirds of the crown attacked, 5.9% of them with one-third of the crown attacked, and the remaining without injuries. Apis mellifera L. and Trigona spinipes (F.) (Hymenoptera: Apidae) were associated with this pest outbreak, feeding on the honeydew secreted by the mealybugs. The presence, damage severity, and mortality of B. variegata trees by P. praelonga suggest a possible phytosanitary threat by this mealybug in urban forestry.

Key Words: Hemiptera; invasive species; mealybug; urban forestry


Bauhinia variegata (Fabaceae), uma arvore exotica utilizada na arborizacao urbana e paisagismo no Brasil, e predisposta a danos por insetos fitofagos especialmente em condicoes de estresse. A cochonilha Praelongorthezia praelonga (Douglas, 1981) (Hemiptera: Ortheziidae) e uma praga generalista. Neste estudo, nos registramos os danos e a mortalidade potencial de arvores de B. variegata por P. praelonga no ambiente urbano no municipio de Montes Claros, estado de Minas Gerais, Brasil. Esse inseto danifica os hospedeiros diretamente, pela alimentacao e, indiretamente, pela formacao de fumagina sobre as folhas. Um total de 17 arvores de B. variegata foi vistoriado em uma das principals avenidas de Montes Claros, durante 2016 e 2017. Praelongorthezia praelonga foi observada em 41,2% das arvores em 2016, com 23,5% delas com a copa toda atacada, 11,8% com dois tercos da copa atacada, 5,9% com um terco da copa atacada, e o restante sem injurias. Apis mellifera L. e Trigona spinipes (F.) (Hymenoptera: Apidae) foram encontradas associadas com essa praga, se alimentando do honeydew secretado pela cochonilha. A presenca, severidade de danos e mortalidade de arvores de B. variegata por P. praelonga sugere uma possivel ameaca fitossanitaria dessa cochonilha para a arborizacao urbana.

Palavras Chaves: arborizacao urbana; cochonilha; especie invasora; Hemiptera

References Cited

Abbasi AM, Shah MH, Li T, Fu X, Guo X, Liu RH. 2015. Ethnomedicinal values, phenolic contents and antioxidant properties of wild culinary vegetables. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 162: 333-345.

Bach EE, Esquerdo KF, Oliveira MBF, Reis FA, Cardoso VO, Wadt SY 2014. Control of spot blotch in barley plants with fungicide and Bauhinia variegata Linn, leaf extract. Emirates Journal of Food and Agriculture 26: 630-638.

Bhardwaj P, Ram R, Zaidi AA, Hallan V. 2015. Natural occurrence of Apple stem grooving virus on Bauhinia variegata. Trees 29: 1415-1422.

Cardoso KM, Paula A, Santos JS, Santos MLR 2017. Uso de especies da arborizacao urbana no biomonitoramento de poluicao ambiental. Ciencia Florestal 27: 535-547.

Chan YS, Ng TB. 2015. Bauhinia variegata van variegata lectin: isolation, characterization, and comparison. Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology 175: 75-84.

Christiansen E, Fjone G. 1993. Pruning enhances the susceptibility of Picea abies to infection by the bark beetle-transmitted blue-stain fungus, Ophiostoma polonicum. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research 8: 235-245.

Daud RD, Feres RJF, Buosi R. 2007. Acaros (Arachnida: Acari) associados a Bauhinia variegata L. (Leguminosae) no Noroeste do Estado de Sao Paulo. Neotropical Entomology 36: 322-325.

Fleck AS, Moresco MB, Rhoden CR. 2016. Assessing the genotoxicity of traffic-related air pollutants by means of plant biomonitoring in cities of a Brazilian metropolitan area crossed by a major highway. Atmospheric Pollution Research 7: 488-493.

Fliickinger W, Braun S. 1999. Stress factors of urban trees and their relevance for vigour and predisposition for parasite attacks. Acta Horticulturae 496: 324-334.

Garcia AH. 1999. Levantamento, identificacao e avaliacao dos danos de insetos em arvores ornamentais na area urbana de Goiania (GO). Pesquisa Agropecuaria Tropical 29: 77-81.

Habib G, Khan NA, Sultan A, Ali M. 2016. Nutritive value of common tree leaves for livestock in the semi-arid and arid rangelands of Northern Pakistan. Livestock Science 184: 64-70.

Kondo T, Peronti AL, Kozar F, Szita E. 2013. Potential invasive species of agricultural crops, pp. 301-319 In Pefia JE [ed.], The Citrus Orthezia, Praelogorthezia praelonga (Douglas) (Hemiptera: Ortheziidae), A Potential Invasive Species. CABI, Wallingford, United Kingdom.

Koricheva J, Larsson S. 1998. Insect performance on experimentally stressed woody plants: a meta analysis. Annual Review of Entomology 43: 1195-216.

Kulkarni YA, Garud MS. 2016. Bauhinia variegata (Caesalpiniaceae) leaf extract: an effective treatment option in type I and type II diabetes. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy 83: 122-129.

Langstrom B, Hellqvist C. 1993. Scots pine susceptibility to attack by Tomicus piniperda (L.) as related to pruning date and attack density. Annals of Forest Science 50: 101-117.

Lorenzi H, Souza HM, Torres MAV, Bacher LB. 2003. Arvores exoticas do Brasil: madeireiras, ornamentals e aromaticas. Nova Odessa, Institute Plantarum 368 pp. Mishra A, Sharma AK, Kumar S, Saxena AK, Pandey AK. 2013. Bauhinia variegata leaf extracts exhibit considerable antibacterial, antioxidant, and anticancer activities. BioMed Research International 2013: article ID 915436.

Nilsson JA, Johnson CD. 1992. New host, Bauhinia variegata L, and new locality records for Caryedon serratus (Olivier) in the New World (Coleoptera: Bruchidae: Pachymerinae). Pan-Pacific Entomologist 68: 62-63.

Peres Filho O, Dorval A, Berti Filho E. 1992. Ocorrencia de Oncideres saga (Dalman, 1823) (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae) em especies florestais em Cuiaba-MT. Revista de Agricultura 67: 77-79.

Zanuncio JC, Alves JB, Santos GP, Campos WO. 1993. Levantamento e flutuacao populacional de lepidopteros associados a eucaliptocultura: Vl-Regiao de Belo Oriente, Minas Gerais. Pesquisa Agropecuaria Brasileira 28: 1121-1127.

Zanuncio JC, Zanuncio TV, Freitas FA, Pratissoli D. 2003. Population density of Lepidoptera in a plantation of Eucalyptus urophylla in the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Animal Biology 53: 17-26.

Pedro Guilherme Lemes (1,*), Mateus Felipe de Matos (1), Germano Leao Demolin Leite (1), Antonio Jose Vinha Zanuncio (2), Marcus Alvarenga Soares (3), and Jose Cola Zanuncio (4)

(1) Institute de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, 39404-547, Montes Claros, Minas Gerais, Brazil; E-mails: (P. G. L), (M. F. M.), (G. L. D. L.)

(2) Departamento de Engenharia Florestal, Universidade Federal de Vicosa, 36570-900, Vicosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil; E-mail: (A. J. V. Z)

(3) Departamento de Agronomia, Universidade Federal dos Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri, 39100-000, Diamantina, Minas Gerais, Brazil; E-mail: (M. A. S.)

(4) Departamento de Entomologia/BIOAGRO, Universidade Federal de Vicosa, 36570-900, Vicosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil; E-mail: (J. C. Z.)

(*) Corresponding author; E-mail:

Caption: Fig. 1. Gradual damage by Praelongorthezia praelonga (Hemiptera: Ortheziidae) on Bauhinia variegata (Fabaceae) leaves (A), nymphs and adults feeding on the sap on the abaxial part of leaves (B), and Trigona spinipes (Hymenoptera: Apidae) foraging on nectar secretion on the adaxial leaf parts (C).

Caption: Fig. 2. Praelongorthezia praelonga (Hemiptera: Ortheziidae) on both leaf sides (A), trunk (B), and fruits (C) of Bauhinia variegata (Fabaceae).

Please Note: Illustration(s) are not available due to copyright restrictions.
COPYRIGHT 2019 Florida Entomological Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2019 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Lemes, Pedro Guilherme; Matos, Mateus Felipe de; Leite, Germano Leao Demolin; Zanuncio, Antonio Jose
Publication:Florida Entomologist
Geographic Code:3BRAZ
Date:Sep 1, 2019
Previous Article:First record of Empoasca kraemeri (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) attacking sweet potato in Brazil.
Next Article:Survey of Poncirus trifoliata hybrids for resistance to colonization by Asian citrus psyllid.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters