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Aphid Predator (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)

Chilocorus nigritus (= Chilocorus nigrita)

Malaysian ladybird, Armoured scale predator

On this page: Identification Biological Control & Distribution

Identification

Chilocorus nigritus is a small, almost hemispherical coccinellid with a body length of about 4mm (see first two pictures below). The head is dull orange yellow. The pronotum is dark brown to black in the middle, paler on the sides with orange-yellow anterolateral flaps. The elytra are shiny black with fine punctations. The underside of Chilocorus nigritus is orange-yellow to yellowish-brown. The outer, folded, margins of the elytra are dark brown to black.

First image copyright Natural History Museum under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Second image reproduced by permission, copyright Fred Jacq all rights reserved.
Third image reproduced by permission, copyright Dominique Martiré all rights reserved.

The Chilocorus nigritus larva (see third picture above) is yellow-brown to whitish with numerous spiny, branched protruberances on the dorsal side.

Biological control & Distribution

Chilocorus nigritus is a predator of scale insects, especially armoured scales (Diaspididae). The species is native to SE Asia, but has been used for classical biological control with introductions in Hawaii and parts of Europe. It is also widely used for augmentative releases in greenhouses. Ponsonby (2009) provides an excellent summary of the various biological control operations with the species and reviews the factors affecting the utility of Chilocorus nigritus as a biocontrol agent.

Suppliers of Chilocorus species

In UK Chilocorus nigritus is available from several sources for the control of scales in glasshouses including:

  • Dragonfli Address: Unit 1 Griggs Business Centre, West Street, Coggeshall Essex CO6 1NT; e-mail: sales@dragonfli.co.uk; tel: 01376 563322
  • Defenders / WyeBugs Address: Wye Bugs, Occupation Road, Wye, Ashford, Kent TN25 5EN e-mail: help@defenders.co.uk; tel: 01233 813130
  • The Natural Gardener Address: Scotts Lane, Knowbury, Shropshire SYB 3JB; tel: 01584 600593

In Netherlands Chilocorus nigritus is available for armoured scale insect control from Entocare Biological Control Address: Hagsteed 4, 6708 PM Wageningen, PO Box 162, 6700 AD Waageningen, Netherlands; tel: 03178-411188

In Australia a related species, Chilocorus circumdatus is available for armoured scale insect control from Bugs for bugs (Biobest) Address: 3 Rocla Court, Toowoomba QLD 4350, Australia; e-mail: info@bugsforbugs.com.au; tel: +61 7 4646 2628

Acknowledgements

We especially thank Fred Jacq and Dominique Martiré for allowing us to reproduce their photographs, and the National Inventory of Natural Heritage for enabling us to contact them.

For coccinellid identification we have used Hackston for the key characteristics, together with the latest Wikipediaaccount for each species. For aphids we have made provisional identifications from photos of living specimens, along with host plant identity using the keys and species accounts of Blackman & Eastop (1994) and Blackman & Eastop (2006) supplemented with Blackman (1974), Stroyan (1977), Stroyan (1984), Blackman & Eastop (1984), Heie (1980-1995), Dixon & Thieme (2007) and Blackman (2010). We fully acknowledge these authors as the source for the (summarized) taxonomic information we have presented. Any errors in identification or information are ours alone, and we would be very grateful for any corrections. For assistance on the terms used for aphid morphology we suggest the figure provided by Blackman & Eastop (2006).

Useful weblinks

References

  • Ponsonby, D.J. et al. (2009). Factors affecting utility of Chilocorus nigritus (F.) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) as a biocontrol agent. Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources 4, No. 046. Abstract