Biosecurity threat, not present in Australia

Metcalfa pruinosa

Citrus planthopper


Many of the insects depicted on these pages are outwardly similar and you should not use photographs as the sole means of identification. These pages form part of a scientific key which will assist a trained entomologist to identify the species accurately.

Metcalfa pruinosa (Say 1830)

Common Name: citrus planthopper, frosted moth-bug

Subfamily/Tribe: Flatinae/Nephesini

Distribution:  United States of America, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico. The species was first recorded in Europe in 1979 in Italy and has subsequently been recorded in France, Slovenia, Great Britain, Croatia, Switzerland, Spain, Czech Republic, Austria, Serbia, Greece, Hungary, Turkey, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Romania and Russia. The first oriental record was from South Korea in 2010.


Economic Status: Metcalfa pruinosa has a very wide host plant range of 330+ plant species across more than 78 families but can be particularly damaging to citrus fruit, grapes, apples, plums, peaches, soybeans, figs and pears. Although not a known vector of any plant viruses, the copious amounts of honeydew that it produces can result in outbreaks of sooty mould on plants. The feeding action itself of large numbers of M. pruinosa can cause stunting of host plants.


Notes: Superficially Metcalfa pruinosa resembles Anzora unicolor and species of DworenaFurther detailed information on the life history, impact, and control of Metcalfa pruinosa is available at

Image: © 2015 Ken Childs [used with permission]