The scale insect Aulacaspis yasumatsui is native to Southeast Asia and a major pest of cycad (Cycadales) plants. Due to an increase in worldwide trading of cycads, A. yasumatsui has spread globally and has become a major threat to many cultivated and native cycads worldwide. In this study we report formally, for the first time, A. yasumatsui infesting cycads in South Africa. This scale insect was observed infesting cycads in three provinces in South Africa, namely, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo. Its identification was based on morphology and nucleotide sequences of three gene regions. Although more common and damaging on non-native Cycas species, its presence on some native South African Encephalartos species is of concern and effort should be made to control the spread and impact of this pest in the country.
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Vol. 23 • No. 1