Malumphy, C.P. 2012 Arthropods intercepted on air plants (Tillandsia spp.) imported from Guatemala into England andWales. Entomologist's Gazette 63:54-62
Notes: Air plants (Tillandsia spp.) are popular indoor ornamental plants and the majority of those traded in Britain are nursery produced in Guatemala. A review is presented of the arthropods detected on 60 samples of Guatemalan air plants collected by the Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate in England andWales. Forty-three arthropod taxa were identified, of which only 40% are likely to feed on Tillandsia, the remainder being predatory or were of incidental occurrence (detritivores or seeking shelter). About half of the insect species found on the air plants examined belonged to the superfamily Coccoidea or scale insects, the most frequently encountered species being Boisduval scale Diaspis boisduvalii Signoret. The most damaging arthropods to the air plants were acrobat ants Crematogaster spp. and the larva of the moth Elaphria subobliqua (Walker) that chewed the foliage; and D. boisduvalii that caused minor chlorosis. The potential phytosanitary risk to UK horticulture resulting from the import of air plants is discussed and concluded to be negligible.