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Data Sheets on Forest Pests

Ceroplastes japonicus


Name: Ceroplastes japonicus Green
Synonym: Cerostegia japonicus Green

Ceroplastes floridensis var. japonicus Green.
Taxonomic position: Insecta: Coccidae, Homoptera.

Common name: Japanese wax scale, Japanese soft scale, Tortoise wax scale (English), японская восковая ложнощитовка (Russian)

Bayer computer code: CERPJA


According to different authors, C. japonicus damages 95 to 121 plant species. It prefers Laurus nobilis, Diospyros kaki, Camellia sinensis and Morus spp. Less preferable are Prunus laurocerasus, Citrus reticulata, Citrus unshiu and some other Citrus spp., and then come Malus spp., Magnolia spp., Poncirus trifoliata, Camellia spp., Pittosporum, Crataegus spp. and other plants. The pest develops on all fruit and many ornamental plants (Yasnosh, 1951, 1952; Dzhashi, 1968; Shutova, 1970; Lobzhanidze, 1975; Katsitadze, 1973, 1977, 1978; Sinadskii, 1982)


EPPO region: Azerbaijan (potential EPPO member, introduced), Georgia including Adzharia and Abkhasia (potential EPPO member, introduced), Great Britain (introduced), south-eastern France (introduced), Italy (introduced), southern Russia (introduced), Slovenia (introduced) (Shutova, 1970; Lobzhanidze, 1975; Katsitadze, 1977, 1978; Dzhashi, 1978; Bassova, 1983b; Voronkova et al., 1986; Orlinskii, 1987; Orlinskii, Bassova & Shahramanov, 1993; Pelizzari, Camporese, 1994; Jancar, Seljak, Zezlina, 1999).
Asia: Azerbaijan (introduced), China, Georgia including Adzharia and Abkhasia (introduced), Japan, Republic of Korea (Yasnosh, 1951; Shutova, 1970; Lobzhanidze, 1975; Katsitadze, 1977, 1978; Dzhashi, 1978; Bassova, 1983b; Voronkova et al., 1986; Orlinskii, 1987; Park, Koo & Lee, 1992; Orlinskii, Bassova, Shahramanov, 1993; Pelizzari & Camporese, 1994; Jancar, Seljak & Zezlina, 1999).
EU: Great Britain (introduced), south-eastern France (introduced), Italy (introduced) (Voronkova et al., 1986; Pelizzari & Camporese, 1994).
C. japonicus probably originates from Eastern Asia (Japan, China) and is also present in the Republic of Korea. It was introduced and established in Western Georgia (including Adzharia and Abkhasia) and then spread to the south of Russia (Krasnodar territory), central Georgia and Azerbaijan (at the Caspian sea). The pest was first detected in the north of Italy in 1984 and then widely spread on the territory of the country and to south-eastern France. It was first detected in Slovenia in 1990 on persimmon and erroneously identified as C. rusci.
On the territory of the former USSR, the pest was first detected in 1933 on a seedling of Chaenomeles spp. originating from a consignment, which had come from Yokogama in 1927. Before the correct identification in 1947 by N. S. Borhsenius (1949) the pest was believed to be C. rusci L. C. japonicus rapidly spread in subtropical area of the USSR (Abkhasia, Adzharia and the region of Sochi) and in 1978 occupied the territory of 15.000 ha on tea, citrus, laurel, mulberry, grapevine and fruit trees (Yasnosh, 1951; Shutova, 1970; Lobzhanidze, 1975; Katsitadze, 1977, 1978; Dzhashi, 1978; Bassova, 1983b; Voronkova et al., 1986; Orlinskii, 1987; Park, Koo & Lee, 1992; Orlinskii, Bassova & Shahramanov, 1993; Pelizzari & Camporese, 1994; Jancar, Seljak & Zezlina, 1999).


The development of C. japonicus depends much on the host plant and the place of feeding on the plant. The sex rate (females : males) varies from 1 : 4 on apple tree to 1 : 1 on kaki, tangerine and leaves of laurel, and to 2,5 : 1 on mulberry and 1000 : 1 on branches of laurel. The fecundity also varies much: 395 eggs per female in average, 534 on apple tree, 844 on tangerine, 1319 on laurel, 1564 on mulberry, 1916 on tea and 1952 on kaki.

In subtropics of the USSR, C. japonicus develops 1 generation per year. On deciduous plants, larvae move from leaves to branches before leaves fall in autumn. On branches, they may form numerous dense colonies and turn into mature females. Mated mature females are overwintering on branches and leaves. The oviposition begins in the middle of May and continues more than a month till the end of June. Neonate larvae appear during a month: from the middle of June till the middle of July. Neonate larvae are not covered by wax till the beginning of feeding. They are very mobile in the first 1 or 2 days, then they fixes themselves along nerves of leaves or on green annual shoots and a wax cover is formed (Fig 1). The sexual dimorphism appears only in third instar and is very spectacular. Female larvae sometimes change places of feeding and prefer sunny locations, whereas male larvae stay fixed all their life. Third instar larvae mute to adult insects. The pest reaches maturity in the beginning of September. Males are winged but don’t fly well. They live 3 – 4 days. The flight of males lasts till the end of October, when the mating occurs. After mating males die.
The optimal conditions for the development of C. japonicus are: temperature 24 – 27ºС and air humidity 75 – 80%. The lower temperature threshold for the development of the scale is +12ºС, the higher - +35ºС. Temperatures higher than +15ºС are needed for the development of eggs, more than +18ºС – for the oviposition. At the temperature of +24ºС, eggs develop during 26- 29 days, first instar larvae – 33 days, second instar larvae – 14 – 15 days, third instar larvae – 22 days, nymphs – 9 – 12 days. The oviposition lasts during about a month. C. japonicus is a cold-resistant species. Its usual mortality on citrus in subtropics of the former USSR doesn’t exceed 13%. The pest survive frosts better than citrus plants. It may establish in a zone with average minimal temperature of winter equal to -10ºС and probably even lower, and may occupy almost all the area of distribution of mulberry. The pest spreads with plants for planting, sometimes with fruits, and naturally with first instar larvae (Borhsenius, 1950, 1973; Yasnosh, 1951, 1952; Dzhashi & Dzhashi, 1968; Shutova, 1970; Batiashvili, Lobzhanidze, 1975; Lobzhanidze, 1975; Katsitadze, 1973, 1977, 1978; Dzhashi, 1978; Sinadskii, 1982; Bassova, 1983b; Orlinskii, 1987; Park, Koo & Lee, 1992; Orlinskii, Bassova & Shahramanov, 1993; Pelizzari & Camporese, 1994).



Females and larvae of C. japonicus are easily detected on leaves and branches. Host plants are covered by black fungi (?) developing on honeydew excreted by wax scales.

1 2
Fig. 1 Larvae and females of C. japonicus on a leaf (1) and a shoot (2) of tangerine (Bassova, 1983b)



Eggs of C. japonicus are less than 0,5 mm long. One female may lay till 2500 eggs. Small females lay 400 – 500 eggs.


Neonate larvae of C. japonicus hatching from eggs have well developed legs and antennae. They move actively searching suitable places for feeding. Than they fixes themselves on the surface of plants and turn into immovable larvae, which have a form of small stars (Fig. 1 & 2). The body of a larva is red and is covered by 8 whitish conic wax scales (3 pairs of which are lateral, one is frontal and one is anal) (Shutova, 1970).

Fig. 2 Larva of C. japonicus (Shutova, 1970)


The stage of pupa doesn’t exist.


The adult female of C. japonicus is oval, 1,75 – 4,2 mm long, dorsal side is prominent, ventral side is flat. The upper side of the body is covered by a thick layer of wax, which is usual for all Ceroplastes species. The surface is more prominent in the centre and less prominent at the borders. For more young specimens, it is possible to see that the wax cover is composed of 8 separate scales, but they merge while females become older. The wax cover of live females is pink, lighter at the borders. The body under the wax cover is cherry-red. Two snow-white protuberances are situated on the back side of the wax cover, two – on each lateral side. At the bases of white protuberances, the colour of the wax cover is more dark because the layer of wax is thinner and the dark red body is seen through it. Legs and 7-segmented antennae are clearly seen on the flat ventral side of the scale. The female lays eggs under its body. During the oviposition, the body is pressed toward the dorsal side. At the end of the oviposition, the female is transformed in a capsule filled by eggs (Shutova, 1970).

1 2

Fig. 3 Female (1) and male (2) of C. japonicus (Shutova, 1970)

More detailed morphological description is published by Pelizzari & Camporese (1994).

Fig. 4 Structure of a female of C. japonicus (Pelizzari & Camporese, 1994)


C. japonicus spreads mainly with plants for planting. Natural spread to very short distances is possible with neonate larvae.


Economic Impact

C. japonicus is one of the main pests of citrus crops on the territory of the former USSR and the main pest of laurel and mulberry, an important pest of many ornamental and forest trees and shrubs. The pest damages much its host plants making multiple pricks and sucking sap. It excretes big amount of honeydew, on which several species of black fungi develop covering the surface of plants. The scale stresses much its host plants, reduces yield and the quality of fruits. The heavy infestation leads to the death of branches and, sometimes, plants (Dzhashi & Dzhashi, 1968; Shutova, 1970; Bassova, 1984; Bassova & Orlinskii, 1985; Orlinskii, 1987, 1989, 1990; Orlinskii, Bassova & Shahramanov, 1993; Pelizzari & Camporese, 1994; Jancar, Seljak & Zezlina, 1999).

Environmental Impact

Damaging large range of ornamental plants, C. japonicus disturbs city ecology and city environment. Its damage also leads to the pollution due to black fungi developing on honeydew excreted by wax scales.


Chemical control of C. japonicus is not effective enough because the pest is well protected by the wax cover. Biological control of the scale is the most efficient. A large range of natural enemies makes the pest not important in its natural area of distribution. The introduction and establishment of predators and parasitoids often gives beneficial economical and ecological effect. The following hymenopterous parasitoids present the highest interest: Anicteus beneficus Ishii, A. ohgushii Tach., A. rarisetus sp. nov., Coccophagus hawaiiensis Timb., C. yoshidae Nak. (Hymenoptera, Aphelinidae), Microterys clauseni (Hymenoptera, Encyrtidae), M. ericeri Ishii, Tetrastichus muracamii sp. n. (Hymenoptera, Chalcidoidea). Some Coccinellid predators, e.g. Rhyzobius forestieri, may also present interest for classical biological control. Good results were obtained with the use of a predator of scale eggs Scutellista coerulea Motsch. (Hymenoptera, Pteromalidae). The study of this natural enemy and field trials after its introduction to Georgia and Azerbaijan showed its high efficiency in control of C. japonicus and other soft scales. The use of entomopathogenic micro-organisms, e.g. Fusarium fungi, is also possible. (Shutova, 1970; Yasnosh & Loik, 1980; Sugonyaev, 1983; Bassova, 1983a, 1983b, 1984; Takabayashi, Takahashi,, 1985; Bassova & Orlinskii, 1985; Orlinskii & Bassova, 1986; Zeng, Wang, Chen, 1990; Kravchenko, 1991; Orlinskii, Bassova & Shahramanov, 1993; Canovai & Raspi, 1999).

Methods of detailed and express sampling of C. japonicus and other arthropod pests on citrus crops were elaborated in Russia (Orlinskii, 1987, 1989, 1990).

Phytosanitary risk

As far as it is known, C. japonicus is not declared a quarantine pest by any regional plant protection organization. It is included into national lists of quarantine pests by Ukraine and Belarus. The pest causes serious damage to fruit, subtropical, forest and ornamental plants in countries where it was introduced including several EPPO countries: Great Britain, south-eastern France, Italy, southern Russia and Slovenia. The pest is able to establish in many EPPO countries, first of all in the Mediterranean region, and very likely to cause serious damage to many cultivated and forest trees and shrubs, which are economically and ecologically important plants there.


To prevent introduction of C. japonicus to many EPPO countries, the effective measure would be to prohibit import of plants for planting and cut branches of host plants from countries and areas of its present distribution. Phytosanitary inspection at the borders can detect larvae and females of the pest on the imported regulated articles.


This data sheet was originally drafted in Russian by:

Dr. Tatiana Bassova, entomologist.


Bassova T. V. (1983a) Scutellista cyanea – natural enemy of soft scales. – Zashchita Rastenii, N° 1. - p. 30 – 31 (in Russian).

Bassova T. V. (1983b) The use of introduced natural enemy Scutellista cyanea Motsch. (Hymenoptera, Pteromalidae) for the control of soft scales in the Transcaucasus. Thesis of candidate (doctor) in biological sciences. Moscow, 147 p (in Russian).

Bassova T. V. (1984) The use of introduced natural enemy Scutellista cyanea Motsch. (Hymenoptera, Pteromalidae) for the control of soft scales in the Transcaucasus. Thesis paper of candidate (doctor) in biological sciences. Moscow, 17 р (in Russian).

Bassova T. V., Kravchenko M. A. (1984) Biological control of wax scales. – Zashchita Rastenii, N° 10. p. 40 – 41 (in Russian).

Bassova T.V., Orlinskii A.D. (1985) Biological suppression of wax scales in Adjaria. Reports of the All-Union Conference of young scientists. Maharadze - Anaseuly. - p. 255-257 (in Russian).

Batiashvili I. D., Lobzsanidze M. I. (1975) Study of frost-resistance of the Japanese wax scale (Ceroplastes japonicus Green.) as a mulberry pest in Georgia. Proceedings of the Institute of Agriculture of Georgia, V. 94, p. 181-183 (in Russian).

Borhsenius N. C. (1949) Taxonomic keys for mealybugs and scales (Coccoidea) of Armenia. Erevan, Edition of the Academy of sciences of the Armenian SSR, 270 p. (in Russian).

Borhsenius N. C. (1950) Mealybugs and scales of the USSR. Edition of Zoological Institute of the Academy of sciences of the USSR, 249 p. (in Russian).

Borhsenius N. C. (1973) Practical taxonomic keys for coccids (Coccoidea) of cultural crops and forest trees of the USSR. Second edition. Leningrad, Nauka, 311 p. (in Russian).

Camporese P., Pelizzari G. (1988) Observations on the biology of Ceroplastes japonicus in the urban environment. Informatore Fitopatologico, V. 48, № 11, p. 42 – 50 (in Italian).

Canovai R., Raspi A. (1999) First occurrence of Rhyzobius forestieri, an active predator of the coccid Ceroplastes japonicus in Tuscany. Informatore Fitopatologico. v. 49, № 1 – 2, p. 41 – 43 (in Italian).

Dzhashi V. S. (1978) Trial results of use of ultracide, metathion and chlorvos against Japanese wax scale on Laurus nobilis. Subtropical crops, № 1, p. 52 – 54 (in Russian).

Dzhashi V. S., Dzhashi V. V. (1968) Japanese wax scale – most dangerous pest of Laurus nobilis. In: Proceedings of the session of the Transcaucasus Council on coordination of research on plant protection. Tbilissi, p. 265 – 269 (in Russian).

Ishevskii S. S., Kravchenko M. A., Bassova T. V., Kozhechkin O. A., Badzhelidze Ya. (1983) Methodical instructions on rearing and application of the natural enemy Scutellista cyanea Motsch. for biological control of Japanese wax scale and other soft scales. Moscow, Kolos. 8 p. (in Russian).

Jancar M., Seljac G., Zezlina I. (1999) Distribution of Ceroplastes japonicus in Slovenia and data of host plants. Zbornik predavanj in referatov 4, Slovenskega Posvetovanja o Varstvu Rastlin v Portorozu od 3, do 4, Marca, p. 443 – 449 (in Slovenian).

Katsitadze M. G. (1973) Japanese wax scale – dangerous pest of subtropical crops, control measures against it in Abkhasia. In: Proceedings of the VI session of the Transcaucasus Council on coordination of research on plant protection. Tbilissi, p. 219 – 221 (in Russian).

Katsitadze M. G. (1977) Dynamics of the spread of Japanese wax scale in the Abkhaz ASSR. Proceedings of Georgian Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, V. 16, p. 197- 206 (in Russian).

Katsitadze M. G. (1978) Biological basis for the control of wax scales Ceroplastes japonicus Green and Ceroplastes sinensis Del Guer. on subtropical crops. Thesis paper of candidate (doctor) in biological sciences. Tbilissi, 22 р (in Russian).

Kravchenko M. A. (1991) Acclimatization of the encyrtid Microterys clauseni Compere (Hymenoptera, Encyrtidae) ) a new parasitoid of the Japanese wax scale Ceroplastes japonicus Green in the USSR. Entomologicheskoe Obozrenie. v. 70, № 2, p. 355 – 360 (in Russian).

Lobzhanidze M. I. (1975) Detection of the fauna of harmful coccids on Morus crops and study of Japanese wax scale (Ceroplastes japonicus Green) in Western Georgia. Thesis paper of candidate (doctor) in biological sciences. Tbilissi, 40 р (in Russian).

Orlinskii A.D. (1987) Elaboration of biological protection of tangerine plantations against quarantine and the most dangerous pests. Thesis paper of candidate (doctor) in biological sciences. – Moscow. 17 p. (in Russian).

Orlinskii A.D. (1989) Sampling of harmful and useful insects on citrus crops. - Moscow: Agropromizdat. - 7p. (in Russian).

Orlinskii A. D. (1990) Express method of sampling arthropods on citrus. Zashchita Rastenii, № 2, p. 28 – 29 (in Russian).

Orlinskii A.D., Bassova T.V. (1986) Some problems of biological regulation of citrus pests populations in the Transcaucasus. Proceedings of the 1 Transcaucasus Conference on Entomology. Erevan, Edition of Armenian Academy of Sciences. p. 145-146 (in Russian).

Orlinskii A. D., Bassova T. V., Shahramanov I. K. (1993) Biological protection of citrus crops. Zashchita Rastenii, № 7. p. 37 – 39 (in Russian).

Park J. D., Koo H. Y., Lee W. G. (1992) Seasonal fluctuations of each stage, ovipositing and hatching behavior of Cerostegia japonicus Green (Homoptera: Coccidae) on persimmon trees. Research Reports of the Rural Development Administration, Crop Protection, v. 34, № 1, p. 48 – 53 (in Korean).

Pellizzari G., Camporese P. (1994) The Ceroplastes species (Homoptera, Coccoidea) of the Mediterranean Basin with emphasis on C. japonicus Green. Annales de la Societe Entomologique de France. v. 30, № 2, p. 175 – 192 (in Italian).

Shutova N. N. (Ed.) (1970) Guide on quarantine and other dangerous pests, diseases and weeds. 2nd edition. Moscow, Kolos. 240 p. (in Russian).

Sinadskii Yu. V. (Ed.) (1982) Pests and diseases of flowers and ornamental plants. Moscow, Nauka. 592 p. (in Russian).

Sugonyaev E. S. (1983) Tetrastichus murakamii sp.n. (Hymenoptera, Chalcidoidea) – a parasite of the Japanese wax scale (Ceroplastes japonicus) in Japan. Zoologicheskii Zhurnal. v. 62, № 12, p. 1907 – 1909 (in Russian).

Takabayashi J., Takahashi S. (1985) Host selection behavior of Anicetus beneficus Ishii et Yasumatsu (Hymenoptera, Encyrtidae). Applied entomology and Zoology, v. 20, № 2, p. 173 – 178 (in Japanese).

Voronkova L. V., Smetnik A. I., Shamonin M. G. et al (1986) Plant quarantine in the USSR. – Moscow, Agropromizdat, 256 p. (in Russian).

Xu ZhiHong, He JunHua, Xu Z. H., He J. H. (1997) Two new species of the genus Anicetus from China (Hymenoptera, Encyrtidae). Acta Zootaxonomica Sinica. v. 22, № 1, p. 90 –94 (in Chinese).

Yasnosh V. A. (1951) Japanese wax scale Ceroplastes japonicus Green in the Abkhaz ASSR. Thesis paper of candidate (doctor) in biological sciences. Tbilissi, 13 р (in Russian).

Yasnosh V. A. (1952) Japanese wax scale. Proceedings of the All-Union Plant Protection Institute. Leningrad, № 4. p. 83 – 89 (in Russian).

Yasnosh V. A., Loik N. K. (1980) Possibilities of establishment of Scutellista cyanea Motsch. – a parasite of wax scales in Abkhasia. Proceedings of the Plant Protection Institute of Georgian SSR. Tbilissi, № 31. p. 71 – 75 (in Russian).

Zeng S. P., Wang G. C., Chen H. K. (1990) Observations on the Fusarium species occurring on red wax scale, Ceroplastes rubens, and tortoise wax scale, Ceroplastes japonicus. Chinese Journal of Biological Control, v. 6, № 2, p. 93 (in Chinese).

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