White Fuzzy Bug
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
December 28, 2010 12:05 am
I found several of these bugs crawling around a Ponga tree (fern-like tree native to New Zealand). They are between 2-4mm long. Any help identifying them would be greatly appreciated.
We believe you have photographed the larva of a species of Lady Beetle known as the Mealy Bug Destroyer, a beneficial species native to Australia that has been imported to other locations, including Florida and California where it helps to control Mealy Bugs on citrus trees. This presents an interesting case of mimicry because the larva of the Mealy Bug Destroyer looks very similar to its prey, the Mealy Bug. The Mealy Bug Destroyer, Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, is profiled on the Insects of Brisbane website and you may view an excellent photo of the larva on BugGuide. The Mealy Bug Destroyer is also found in New Zealand, and according to an internet source: “In New Zealand, the natural distribution of C. montrouzieri is currently restricted to the warmer areas of the country in the north of the North Island, as far south as Gisborne.”