The Cotton Mealybug Is Spreading along the Mediterranean: First Pest Detection in Italian Tomatoes

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Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy
Academic Editors: Domenico Bosco, Muhammad Haseeb, Ashfaq Ahmad Sial, Jawwad A. Qureshi and Youichi Kobori
Insects 2021

Nowadays, globalization causes a series of negative consequence for the sustainability of agricultural systems, such as solanaceous cultivations. Here, we report for the first time the presence of an invasive polyphagous mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae), in Italian solanaceous crops, i.e., tomato and bell pepper. For this, we analyzed at the morphological and molecular level various specimens collected in Sicily during fall 2020. A phylogenetic analysis conducted comparing an ≈800 bp portion of the mitochondrial genome of several worldwide populations, suggests that the introduced population might originate from Asia. This study represents the first step toward establishing a P. solenopsis monitoring and sustainable control program in Europe.

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