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Lecanochiton actites Henderson & Hodgson

[Lecanochiton actites]. Young adult female.

[Lecanochiton actites]. Young adult female.

The species name actites means "dweller near the shore", and this scale can be found on pohutukawa trees growing by sheltered beaches and inlets, mainly in the northern half of the North Island.

Biology: probably one generation per year. The young scales are found on the undersides of leaves in late winter to spring and males complete their development there. Females migrate to the young greenish stems [as in the photo] when adult. The females' settling sites become little hollows and the plant tissue swells around them, deforming the stem and making it easier to spot where the scales are. The button scales of New Zealand are unique in that their dorsal or upper part (the flat, oval piece in the middle of the scale) doesn't expand when adult. Instead, the venter or under part expands, forming the outer sides. Pohutukawa button scale is the largest Lecanochiton species because it expands the most.

Found on the stems and leaves of:

Metrosideros excelsa


Metrosideros robusta northern rātā
Metrosideros sp rātā