Oystershell scale (Hemiptera: Diaspididae) population growth, spread, and phenology on aspen in Arizona, USA

Connor D. Crouch, Richard W. Hofstetter, Amanda M. Grady, Nylah N.S. Edwards, Kristen M. Waring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Oystershell scale (OSS; Lepidosaphes ulmi L.) is an invasive insect that threatens sustainability of aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) in the southwestern United States. OSS invasions have created challenges for land managers tasked with maintaining healthy aspen ecosystems for the ecological, economic, and aesthetic benefits they provide. Active management is required to suppress OSS populations and mitigate damage to aspen ecosystems, but before management strategies can be implemented, critical knowledge gaps about OSS biology and ecology must be filled.This study sought to fill these gaps by addressing 3 questions: (i) What is the short-term rate of aspen mortality in OSS-infested stands in northern Arizona, USA? (ii) What are the short-term rates of OSS population growth on trees and OSS spread among trees in aspen stands? (iii) What is the phenology of OSS on aspen and does climate influence phenology? We observed high levels of aspen mortality (annual mortality rate = 10.4%) and found that OSS spread rapidly within stands (annual spread rate = 10–12.3%). We found first, second, and young third instars throughout the year and observed 2 waves of first instars (i.e., crawlers), one throughout the summer and a second in mid-winter. The first wave appeared to be driven by warming seasonal temperatures, but the cause of the second wave is unknown and might represent a second generation. We provide recommendations for future OSS research, including suggestions for more precise quantification of OSS phenology, and discuss how our results can inform management of OSS and invaded aspen ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-304
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Entomology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2024


  • climate
  • invasive insect
  • life cycle
  • mortality
  • pest management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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