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Cryptolaemus montrouzieri facts for kids

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Cryptolaemus montrouzieri
Coccinellidae - Cryptolaemus montrouzieri.JPG
Cryptolaemus montrouzieri. Dorsal view
Cryptolaemus montrouzieri.jpg
Side view
Scientific classification
Kingdom:
Phylum:
Class:
Order:
Family:
Genus:
Cryptolaemus
Species:
C. montrouzieri
Binomial name
Cryptolaemus montrouzieri
Mulsant, 1850

Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, common name mealybug ladybird or mealybug destroyer, is a ladybird species.

Etymology

Étienne Mulsant described C. montrouzieri, naming the new species after a Marist brother and missionary, Abbe Montrouzier, who wrote an "Insect Fauna of Woodlark Island".

Distribution

Cryptolaemus montrouzieri is endemic to Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. It is now also present in southern Europe (France, Italy, Spain, Greece), in North Africa, in the Afrotropical realm, in the Nearctic realm, and in the Neotropical realm.

Description

Coccinellidae - Cryptolaemus montrouzieri-001
Front view
Cryptolaemus montrouzieri larva InsectImages 5195077 cropped
Cryptolaemus montrouzieri larva

Cryptolaemus montrouzieri can reach a length of about 6 millimetres (0.24 in). Adults of this species have the typical ladybird shape but, unlike many of the often brightly coloured Coccinellidae, the elytra of these small ladybirds are predominantly dark brown and have no spots. Head, antennae, pronotum, the end of the elytra and the legs are orange-brown. Larvae can reach a length of 14–15 millimetres (0.55–0.59 in). They show a waxy covering that makes them apparently look like the mealybugs they prey on, a case of aggressive mimicry.

Biology

The adults and larvae of these insects eat scale insects, especially mealybugs. Females lay their eggs among the egg sack of mealybugs. Larvae feed on mealybug eggs, young crawlers and their honeydew. They become adults in 24 days, after three larval stages and a pupal stage. The life span lasts two months.

Biological control agent

This species has been used as a biological control agent against mealybugs and other scale insects. It was introduced to Western Australia. In California it was introduced in 1891 by Albert Koebele to control the citrus mealybug. It has also been introduced to New Zealand for biocontrol. As biological control agent outside Australia, C. montrouzieri has the common name Mealy bug destroyer.

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