Center for Systematic Entomology, Gainesville, Florida


Date of this Version



Powell EC. 2023. Defensive behaviors of the mealybug Nipaecoccus nipae (Maskell, 1893) (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) and the green lacewing Ceraeochrysa claveri (Navás, 1911) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae), with videos of dorsal packet loading and mealybug ostiole function. Insecta Mundi 1019: 1–11.

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The interactions between the lacewing Ceraeochrysa claveri (Navás) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) larva and the coconut mealybug Nipaecoccus nipae (Maskell) (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) were recorded. The third-instar lacewing larva constructed a dorsal packet using mealybug wax from both male pupal cases and the bodies of adult females. Surprisingly, live nymphs were also frequently placed into the dorsal packet. Prey mealybugs were discarded and not incorporated into the packet after consumption. When disturbed, adult female mealybugs reflex bled from their dorsal ostioles, contacting the mouthparts of the lacewing. The lacewing quickly retreated to clean the mouthparts on the substrate, providing further evidence that ostiolar fluids act as a defense mechanism for mealybugs. Despite repeatedly contacting the ostiolar fluid, the lace­wing pupated and eclosed successfully. Macro video footage of dorsal packet construction and ostiolar reflex bleeding is included. This is the first report of C. claveri preying on N. nipae, the first evidence of C. claveri using mealybug wax to construct the dorsal packet, and the first account of reflex bleeding via the dorsal ostioles to deter predators in N. nipae.