A new species of armored scale insect has been described and illustrated as the second species of Unaspis in the Philippines by UPLB Museum of Natural History Director Ireneo L. Lit, Jr. and his graduate apprentice Mr. Normandy M. Barbecho, with official publication made through the Germany-based scientific journal ARTHROPODA Generalis. Dr. Lit is also a professor at the UPLB Institute of Biological Sciences while Mr. Barbecho is his advisee currently finishing his Master of Science in Entomology degree from UPLB.

According to the authors, Unaspis mabilis Lit & Barbecho, n. sp., is a sucking insect which is known to occur in Luzon, Mindoro, Panay, Mindanao islands, attacking Lanzones (Lansium domesticum).

The insect, according to the report, is probably of recent introduction from other countries which serve as sources of imported larger varieties of lanzones fruits. The discovery and description further emphasizes that the scale insect infesting lanzones is quite different from the "cocolisap" that infest coconuts. In fact, the two species differ up to the subfamily level even if both belong to the same armored scale family, the Diaspididae.

The insect has been incorrectly called in the past as the lanzones "mussel scale" and was thought to be Lepidosaphes sp. or Lepidosaphes beckii (Newman, 1869). It was also initially thought to be another Unaspis species because it is very morphologically similar to U. citri.

Lit and Barbecho named the insect 'mabilis' (a Tagalog adjective which means fast) in allusion to the speed at which it spreads and infests lanzones trees around the Philippines. Its apparent aggressive behavior, the authors said, is generally interpreted as characteristic of invasive alien species.

For more technical information on Unaspis mabilis Lit & Barbecho, n. sp., visit http://sungaya-verlag.de/ARTHROPODA.Generalis.4.pdf

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