Family: Putoidae

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Common name: Giant mealybugs or putoids

Field Characters: Body large, sometimes 5mm long; covered with thick tufts of mealy white wax; lateral filaments broad and coalesced; often with a central ridge of wax; with 2 black stripes on dorsal submedial areas when wax is removed; legs and antennae large and dark; no definite ovisac is produced in most species.

Puto arctostaphyli                                     Puto mexicanus                                     Puto kosztarabi       
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Diagnosis: Body large and rotund; claw with basal denticle in addition to subapical denticle; cerarii large and conspicuous; trochanter with 3 or 4 pores on each surface; with trilocular pores, ostioles, translucent pores on hind legs, and usually with a circulus.

Notes: Giant mealybugs are quite uniform in their morphological characteristics. The family most likely includes only 1 or 2 genera: Macrocerococcus (which often is treated as a synonym of Puto) and Puto. Ceroputo clearly is a pseudococcid and not a putoid. Putoidae Beardsley was first used as a family by Beardsley (1969).

Distribution: Giant mealybugs occur in only 4 zoogeographical regions of the world. Click here for a list of Puto species from the Nearctic region, Neotropical region, Oriental region and Palearctic regions. They are absent from the Afrotropical, and Australasian regions.

Hosts: Giant mealybugs occur on a diverse range of hosts, but are common on conifers, grasses, and a series of woody shrubs. They occur on all parts of the host including the subterranean crown in some Nearctic species.

Life History: Giant mealybugs have 4 instars in the female and 5 in the male. Most species have a single generation each year, although Puto sandini Washburn requires 4 years to complete a generation (Washburn 1965). Puto antennatus (Signoret) has a single generation and feeds on conifers in the high elevations of the Bavarian Alps. Overwintering occurs in the immature stages under the bark of the host. In early spring the nymphs move to the bases of needle, enlarge, and appear as adults in early May. Adult males are common. Eggs are laid in July (Sampo and Olmi 1979). Macrocerococcus superbus Leonardi has essentially the same life history. There is a single generation each year, adults appear in May, and oviposition occurs in July. Mating is necessary for reproduction. First instars are the overwintering stage (Marotta 1992).

Important references: Danzig 1980, 1999; Kosztarab and Kozár 1988; McKenzie 1967; Miller and Miller 1993b.

Diversity: Click here for a check list of all Putoidae species.

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