Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR)

Thysanococcus pandani
(?scale insects)

hala scale insect

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A message from Dr. David Duffy, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit (PCSU), University of Hawaii (posted 05 November 2012):

Because of a lack of funds, HEAR (www.hear.org) may close as soon as December 15, although there may be enough funds to extend it until February 15. This will mean several things. The web site will be placed on a new server although it is not clear who will pay for the server or for transitioning the site. HEAR data will not be updated. The Pacific Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) (http://www.hear.org/pier/abtproj.htm) site will also become frozen, as will numerous books, reports and papers (http://www.hear.org/). As software evolves we will likely lose the ability to access the data. The various list servers will need new owners, otherwise moderated lists will cease to function altogether, while other lists will not be able to add or delete members. The photo collection (http://www.hear.org/starr/images/?o=plants) will remain accessible, but only through a third party site that will charge for access.

I should point out that we have already lost the original homes of both the Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) and Pacific Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) although they have found temporary refuges. Together with HEAR, they represent the corporate memory both here in Hawaii and across the Pacific of efforts to sustain our natural ecosystems and agriculture against problems caused by species alien to the islands. HEAR also serves as the glue that holds the community together, providing information and facilitating communication. I just hope hindsight is kind to this decision.


Let us know if you have suggestions for additional references to add to this page.

The hala scale insect (Thysanococcus pandani) causes yellowing of and serious damage to hala (Pandanus tectorius). Hala is common to abundant in many Hawaiian coastal ecosystems and an extremely important plant species for native Hawaiians, who have traditionally used it for cordage, thatching, healing, decoration, etc.   Much hala in Hawaii is currently (2005) sickly from the hala scale insect with yellowing leaves over much of windward East Maui, though the insect's effects have not yet (2005) reached the Kipahulu section of Haleakala National Park. Hala is an important component of the national parks in the Kona area of Hawaii island. Long-term effects of scale attack on hala populations are likely to be severe, but that is uncertain at this point in time (2005). The South Pacific island of Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands, apparently lost its Pandanus in the 1920s from a similar accidental insect introduction.  Hala scale insect arrived on the island of Maui in 1995, apparently on a shipment of hala brought in to a botanical garden from somewhere in the western/southern Pacific. 

Species description or overview

Thysanococcus pandani catalogue query results (USDA)
General information on pandanus scale nomenclature, hosts, distribution, and citations are presented by USDA ScaleNet.

Taxonomy & nomenclature

Thysanococcus pandani information from ITIS
The Integrated Taxonomic Information System ITIS provides authoritative taxonomic information on Thysanococcus pandani, as well as other plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.


Testimony of Lloyd Loope,  at Field Hearing on Invasive Species, U.S. Senate
Invasive threats to Hawaii's National Parks are reviewed in testimony to Senator Dan Inouye (8/9/2005).


Thysanococcus pandani images (Starr)
Images of Thysanococcus pandani (Halimococcidae) (hala / pandanus scale are provided by from Forest and Kim Starr.

Pandanus scale (Thysanococcus pandani) image
Pandanus scale infestation on leaf is pictured.


Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey, part II (notes) View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format

Pandanus scale on offshore islet Keopuka
Introduced hala scale (Thysanococcus pandani) was noted in a 2005 survey of Maui's offshore islet Keopuka.

Maui Offshore Islets Botanical Survey (USGS) View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Native and invasive species populate the offshore islets of Maui.

Pandanus scale on offshore islet Mokuhuki
Yellowing hala trees indicate that the invasive hala scale (Thysanococcus pandani) is present on Maui's offshore islet Mokuhuki.

Pests and diseases of Pandanus (PestNet)
The spread of Thysanococcus pandani in Hawaii and the Pacific is reviewed.

In the news

Bugs attack hala trees on Maui (Star Bulletin 6/22/04)
A quarantine on Maui's hala trees is recommended to stop the spread of the hala scale insect to other islands.

Full-text articles

Maui Offshore Islet Botanical Survey
Starr, F., K. Starr, and Wood K. 2006. Maui Offshore Islet Botanical Survey. Report prepared for State Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Offshore Islet Restoration Committee, Honolulu, Hawaii.

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The Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR) is currently funded by grants from the Hau'oli Mau Loa Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service with support from PCSU (UH Manoa). Historically, HEAR has also received funding and/or support from the Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) of the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII), PIERC (USGS), the USFWS, HCSU (UH Hilo), and HALE (NPS).

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