Citrus leprosis virus (CiLV) is transmitted by the false spider mites in the genus Brevipalpus (Acari: Tenuipalpidae). Brevipalpus mites occur on citrus around the world but do not alone cause significant damage unless the mite population is extremely high. Multiple species of Brevipalpus mites may transmit the virus; however, there has been misidentification of the mites found in association with the virus. Brevipalpus obovatus, B. californicus, and a closely related species of B. phoenicis (which has not been identified at this point) have been associated with CiLV. All three species have been collected from citrus in the United States. The disease only spreads when both infected trees and the vector is present. The virus does not appear to move systemically in the host plant with the exception of short distances along the mid-vein or secondary veinlets.

All active life stages of the mite are equally able to transmit the virus, yet there is no transovarial transmission of the virus (virus moving from female to offspring). Newly hatched mites must feed on infected plant tissue in order to acquire the virus. The virus multiplies in the mites; therefore the mite may spread the virus throughout its life.

Other Common Names

Nailhead rust, nailhead spot, scaly bark, lepra explosiva

Serrano, D., Serrano, E., Dewdney, M., and Southwick, C. (2010). Citrus Diseases. USDA/APHIS/PPQ Center for Plant Health Science and Technology. [09-14]