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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

 Family: Diaspididae (armoured scale insects)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Phylum: Arthopoda > Mandibulata > Atelocerata > Panhexapoda > Hexapoda > Insecta (insects) > Dicondyla > Pterygota > Metapterygota > Neoptera > Eumetabola > Paraneoptera > Condylognatha > Hemiptera (bugs) > Sternorryncha > Superfamily: Coccoidea

Aloe red scale Separaspis capensis on underside of aloe leaf. The large round individuals are females and the small oblong ones are males.

Armoured scale insects are plant suckers and some species, such as the red scale Aonidiella aurantii, are serious agricultural pests. Unlike many other scale insects such as the soft scales and the mealybugs, armoured scale insects do not secrete sugary honeydew that attracts ants. The mature female produces young from unlaid eggs. These young are called crawlers and wander around finding a suitable place to settle. Once settled they secrete a scale cover by producing waxy filaments that are laid down in a circular fashion by rotation of the body. The male scale is smaller and more oblong than the female and and at the final moult produces a tiny winged male that slips out from beneath the scale and flies off to find a female that needs mating.

Further Reading

  • Annecke, D.P. & Moran, V.C. 1982. Insects and mites of cultivated plants in South Africa. Butterworths, Durban. (Read section on red scale, pp. 33-38 plus information on other armoured scales).