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Have you seen Hala Scale (Thysanococcus pandani)?
Hawaii Early Detection Network Priority Pest for Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, and Big Island


Hala Scale
Hala scale on a hala leaf and fruit (inset)
Hala Scale Adult
Hala scale damage, which causes leaf yellowing, in Ha'iku on the island of Maui.
Red palm weevil damage
Lauhala, the leaves of the hala tree, are used in weaving mats, baskets, hats, and even canoe sails. The hala scale ruins lauhala for these purposes.
Images: (left, center) Forest & Kim Starr; (right) AK Kepler.

Identification: Presently only on the island of Maui. The hala scale insect (Thysanococcus pandani) causes yellowing of and serious damage to the leaves of Hala (Pandanus tectorius). Adult and immature scale insects are seen on the underside of Hala leaves. Adult scale have a dark body with a white fringe around the edge.
Impacts: : Hala scale was first observed in Hana, Maui in 1995. Now, much of East Maui's Hala is infested with the scale. The South Pacific island of Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands, apparently lost its Pandanus trees in the 1920's from a similar accidental insect introduction.  Aside from this possibility, infestation of Hala leaves with the scale renders it unusable for weaving and unsightly in the landscape.
Dispersal Mechanism: Hala Scale reached East Maui on an infested shipment of Hala brought to a botanical garden from somewhere in the Pacific. Knowing this, it is important not to transport Hala plants or leaves from Maui to other islands. If you see this scale pest anywhere else in Hawaii- let someone know! If you are in doubt, send a picture to the reporting page and we will help you identify it.

More information about this pest external link


Hala Scale look-alikes:


Coconut scale (Aspidiotus destructor):
The Hala scale could be confused with the Coconut scale which may be found on Hala on all of the Hawaii islands except Molokai and Lanai. However, the Coconut scale has an orange body covered by a white wax or armor.

Buddleja davidii

Coconut scale (Aspidiotus destructor)
Image: Lyle Buss, University of Florida

Last Updated: Monday January 30 2012. If you have any questions about the Hawaii Early Detection Network contact reportapest-maui@lists.hawaii.edu.
Funding and support for this project was made possible by the Hawai'i Invasive Species Council, the USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry assistance, and University of Hawai'i-Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit.