Kenya Natural History Guide >>> Insects >>> True Bugs, Aphids, Leaf Hoppers, Scales and Cicadas >>> Golden Scale Insect

Scale Insect


an armored scale with a Myrmicaria ant investigating, Kenya. Photo © by Michael Plagens

These golden brown scales are adhered to a twig of a Muhutu Tree, (Terminalia brownii). Both scales appear to have been parasitized, probably by a minute wasp. Kitale, Kenya, March 2011. A myrmicine ant, possibly Myrmicaria is investigating.

Muhutu Myrmicaria Ant The hardened casings of armoured scales often remain long after the responsible insect has disappeared. The lacquer material is durable and was originally secreted by the bug as protection against the elements and potential enemies. Many scale insects also exude sugary substances attractive to ants. The ants take the sugar without harming the bugs and may offer additional protection from wasps and beetles. The perfectly round holes in these indicate the emergence of minute parasitic wasps that destroyed the bug inside.

Coccoidea -- Scale Insect Super-Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens. Page created 13 November 2012<
updated 25 February 2013