Ceroplastes stellifer (Westwood): Stellate Scale


California Pest Rating for
Ceroplastes stellifer (Westwood): Stellate Scale
(synonym Vinsonia stellifera)
Hemiptera: Coccidae
Pest Rating: A

Initiating Event:

Ceroplastes stellifer is regularly intercepted by CDFA and is presently assigned a temporary rating of “Q”.  A pest rating proposal is required to determine a permanent pest rating.

History & Status:

Background Ceroplastes stellifer is a polyphagous soft scale insect that feeds on a variety of plants including many crops and ornamentals.  Some of the known hosts include: Anacardiaceae: mango (Mangifera indica1), Mangifera sp.1; Apocynaceae: blackboard tree (Alstonia scholaris1), Ervatamia orientalis1, frangipani (Plumeria acutifolia1); Araliaceae: Schefflera sp.1; Arecaceae: coconut (Cocos nucifera1), Cocos sp.1; Aspleniaceae: Asplenium sp.1; Clusiaceae: Clusia sp.1, purple mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana1), bitter garcinia (Garcinia spicata1), kokum (Garcinia indica1), Garcinia sp.1; Ebenaceae: velvet apple (Diospyros discolor1); Euphorbiaceae: bishop wood (Bischofia javanica1); Lauraceae: camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora1), avocado (Persea americana1); Liliaceae: asparagus fern (Asparagus sprengeri1); Moraceae: Artocarpus integra1, banyan (Ficus benghalensis1), Ficus antimesma1; Musaceae: Musa sp.1; Myrtaceae: Eucalyptus sp.1, jambos (Eugenia jambos1), jambul (Eugenia jambolana1), water apple (Eugenia aquea1), Eugenia sp.1, java plum (Syzygium cuminii1); Orchidaceae: blood red broughtonia (Broughtonia sanguinea1), Cattleya sp.1, Cypripedium niveum1, fringed star orchid (Epidendrum ciliare1), Epidendrum sp.1, Stanhopea sp.1; Phyllanthaceae: Chinese-laurel (Antidesma bunius1); Polypodiaceae: Adiantum sp.1; Primulaceae: coralberry (Ardisia polycephala1); Rutaceae: grapefruit (Citrus grandis1), bitter orange (Citrus aurantium1), Citrus sp.1, orangeberry (Glycosmis pentaphylla1), Jambolana sp.1; Sapotaceae: sapodilla (Achras sapota1), Lucuma caimito1, Palaquium sp.1; Strelitziaceae: traveller’s palm (Ravenala madagascariensis1); Zingiberaceae: red ginger (Alpinia purpurata1).  The scale has also been found feeding on additional hosts3,4Ceroplastes stellifer may be transported long distances when infested plants or fresh plant parts are moved.

Worldwide Distribution: The native range of Ceroplastes stellifer is uncertain but early records are from the Caribbean1.  It is now widespread in parts of Australia, the Pacific, Africa, Asia, and South America1.  In the United States it is found in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia1.  Interceptions indicate that it may also be present in Hawaii.

Official Control: Ceroplastes stellifer is listed as a harmful organism by China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Mexico (see Vinsonia stellifera) 2.

California Distribution:  Ceroplastes stellifer has never been found in the environment of California.

California Interceptions From 1987 through 2015 Ceroplastes stellifer was intercepted 251 times by CDFA’s high risk programs and dog teams. Interceptions have occurred on plants and fresh plant parts from Hawaii, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Jamaica, and Florida.

The risk Ceroplastes stellifer (stellate scale) would pose to California is evaluated below.

Consequences of Introduction: 

1) Climate/Host Interaction: The known distribution of Ceroplastes stellifer is primarily tropical and subtropical.  The scale is expected to be able to establish throughout the warmer parts of California and receives a Medium (2) in this category.

Evaluate if the pest would have suitable hosts and climate to establish in California.  Score:

Low (1) Not likely to establish in California; or likely to establish in very limited areas.

Medium (2) may be able to establish in a larger but limited part of California.

High (3) likely to establish a widespread distribution in California.

2) Known Pest Host Range: Ceroplastes stellifer is known to feed on a wide variety of plants in at least 21 families.  It receives a High (3) in this category.

Evaluate the host range of the pest. Score:

Low (1) has a very limited host range.

Medium (2) has a moderate host range.

High (3) has a wide host range.

3) Pest Dispersal Potential: Scale insects have high reproductive rates and may disperse long distances when infested plants or plant parts are moved.  They may also be spread by wind or by hitchhiking on plants, animals, or equipment.  Ceroplastes stellifer receives a High (3) in this category.

Evaluate the natural and artificial dispersal potential of the pest. Score:

Low (1) does not have high reproductive or dispersal potential.

Medium (2) has either high reproductive or dispersal potential.

High (3) has both high reproduction and dispersal potential.

4) Economic Impact: Ceroplastes stellifer is not documented reducing crop yields.  It might reduce the value of nursery stock by disfiguring plants with its presence and increase crop production costs in nurseries and orchards.  It is not expected to change cultural practices, vector other organisms, injure animals, or disrupt water supplies.  Stellate scale receives a Medium (2) in this category.

Evaluate the economic impact of the pest to California using the criteria below. Score:

A. The pest could lower crop yield.

B. The pest could lower crop value (includes increasing crop production costs).

C. The pest could trigger the loss of markets (includes quarantines).

D. The pest could negatively change normal cultural practices.

E. The pest can vector, or is vectored, by another pestiferous organism.

F. The organism is injurious or poisonous to agriculturally important animals.

G. The organism can interfere with the delivery or supply of water for agricultural uses.

Low (1) causes 0 or 1 of these impacts.

Medium (2) causes 2 of these impacts.

High (3) causes 3 or more of these impacts.

5) Environmental Impact: Ceroplastes stellifer is not expected to lower biodiversity, disrupt natural communities, or change ecosystem processes.  It is not expected to feed on any threatened or endangered species or disrupt critical habitats.  It might trigger new chemical treatments in orchards and the nursery industry and by residents who find infested plants unsightly.  Host plants of the scale are common as ornamentals and in home gardens and might be significantly affected by this pest.  Stellate scale receives a High (3) in this category.

Evaluate the environmental impact of the pest on California using the criteria below.

A. The pest could have a significant environmental impact such as lowering biodiversity, disrupting natural communities, or changing ecosystem processes.

B. The pest could directly affect threatened or endangered species.

C. The pest could impact threatened or endangered species by disrupting critical habitats.

D. The pest could trigger additional official or private treatment programs.

E. The pest significantly impacts cultural practices, home/urban gardening or ornamental plantings.

Score the pest for Environmental Impact. Score:

Low (1) causes none of the above to occur.

Medium (2) causes one of the above to occur.

High (3) causes two or more of the above to occur.

Consequences of Introduction to California for Ceroplastes stellifer (Stellate Scale): High (13)

Add up the total score and include it here.

Low = 5-8 points

Medium = 9-12 points

High = 13-15 points

6) Post Entry Distribution and Survey Information: Ceroplastes stellifer has not been found in California and receives a Not established (0) in this category.

Evaluate the known distribution in California. Only official records identified by a taxonomic expert and supported by voucher specimens deposited in natural history collections should be considered. Pest incursions that have been eradicated, are under eradication, or have been delimited with no further detections should not be included.

Not established (0) Pest never detected in California, or known only from incursions.

Low (-1) Pest has a localized distribution in California, or is established in one suitable climate/host area (region).

Medium (-2) Pest is widespread in California but not fully established in the endangered area, or pest established in two contiguous suitable climate/host areas.

High (-3) Pest has fully established in the endangered area, or pest is reported in more than two contiguous or non-contiguous suitable climate/host areas.

Final Score

The final score is the consequences of introduction score minus the post entry distribution and survey information score: High (13)


There have not been any recent surveys for stellate scale.  It could be present in some localities.

Conclusion and Rating Justification:

Ceroplastes stellifer has never been found in California and is likely to have significant economic and environmental impacts if it were to establish in the state.  An “A” rating is justified.


1 Miller, Dug, Yair Ben-Dov, Gary Gibson, and Nate Hardy.  ScaleNet. http://www.sel.barc.usda.gov/catalogs/coccidae/Ceroplastesstellifer.htm


2 USDA Phytosanitary Certificate Issuance & Tracking System (PCIT) Phytosanitary Export Database (PExD).  https://pcit.aphis.usda.gov/pcit/

3 Scale Insect Fact Sheet: Ceroplastes stillifer (Westwood).  http://idtools.org/id/scales/factsheet.php?name=6919

4 Hodgson, Chris J. and Ana L.B.G. Peronti. 2012. A revision of the wax scale insects (Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha: Coccoidea: Ceroplastinae) of the Afrotropical region. Zootaxa 3372: 265pp.  http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/list/2012/3372.html

Responsible Party:

Jason Leathers, 1220 N Street, Sacramento, CA, 95814, (916) 654-1211, plant.health[@]cdfa.ca.gov.

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Pest Rating: A

Posted by ls