Family: Diaspididae (armoured scale insects)
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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.
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).