Spanish researchers from the University of Leon (Nicolás Pérez Hidalgo and M. Pilar Mier Durante) have discovered the plant lice Schizaphis piricola (Matsumura) in Madrid, Spain from a photography displayed on a social network platform: “Biodiversidad Virtual” (Ángel Umaran). The results have been published recently in the open access journal ZooKeys and are available for free download.
“This discovery is yet another example of how social networks play an important role in our knowledge of biodiversity and the detection and/or monitoring of invasive or endangered species”, said the lead author Nicolás Pérez Hidalgo.
Schizaphis piricola is the 103rd adventive plant lice species recorded in Europe and is probably introduced in other part of the continent as well. The aphid lives on pears and alternates with aquatic plants during the summer. The direct action of feeding by the aphids, and the indirect damage caused by the honeydew they excrete on the leaves, can affect the normal growth of pear trees.