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PLoS One. 2015 Mar 20;10(3):e0121354. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0121354. eCollection 2015.

Ultrastructure of Wax-Producing Structures on the Integument of the Melaleuca Psyllid Boreioglycaspis melaleucae (Hemiptera: Psyllidae), with Honeydew Excretion Behavior in Males and Females.

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United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Horticultural Research Laboratory, Fort Pierce, Florida, United States of America.


The melaleuca psyllid, Boreioglycaspis melaleucae (Hemiptera: Psyllidae), was introduced to Florida as a biological control agent against Melaleuca quinquenervia, an invasive evergreen tree that has invaded large areas of Florida Everglades. Colonies of B. melaleucae nymphs are normally covered by white waxy secretions, and nymphs of various instars produce long bundles of white waxy filaments extending laterally and posteriorly from their abdomen. Scanning electron microscopy of 'naturally waxed' and 'dewaxed' nymphs (cleaned from wax) revealed two types of wax pore plates located dorsally and laterally on the integument of posterior abdominal segments starting with the 4th segment. Type-1 wax pore plates, with raised rim, peripheral groove, slits and pits, produce long ribbons and filaments of waxy secretions that are wound together forming long wax bundles, whereas type-2 wax pore plates, with slits only, produce shorter wax curls. Additionally, in both nymphs and adult females, the circumanal ring contained ornate rows of wax pores that produce wax filaments covering their honeydew excretions. Video recordings with stereomicroscopy showed that adult females produce whitish honeydew balls, powerfully propelled away from their body, probably to get these sticky excretions away from their eggs and newly hatched nymphs. Adult males, however, produce clear droplets of honeydew immediately behind them, simply by bending the posterior end of the abdomen downward. The possible role(s) of waxy secretions by nymphs and adults of B. melaleucae in reducing contamination of their colonies with honeydew, among other possibilities, are discussed.

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