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Native soft scales

Some native species are "host specific", meaning they can live only on particular plants, for example, the button scales [Lecanochiton species] are only found on pōhutukawa and rātā. Other native soft scales can be found on several different plants, but usually in just one habitat.

Beech (Nothofagus)

Two different soft scale insects are found on Nothofagus species in beech forest:

  • Conical beech scale Crystallotesta fagi (Maskell)
  • Glassy beech scale Crystallotesta neofagi Henderson & Hodgson

Kānuka and Mānuka

Kānuka [Kunzea ericoides] and Mānuka [Leptospermum scoparium]

There are four different soft scale insects found in this habitat:

  • Glassy mānuka scale Crystallotesta leptospermi (Maskell)
  • Small ornate scale Crystallotesta ornatella Henderson & Hodgson
  • Thumbnail scale Plumichiton pollicinus Henderson & Hodgson
  • Knobbly scale Umbonichiton bullatus Henderson & Hodgson


Mixed broadleaf forest types, other than podocarps and kānuka.

There are 17 different soft scale insects found in mixed broadleaf forest:

  • Translucent scale Aphenochiton pubens Henderson & Hodgson
  • Filmy scale Aphenochiton subtilis Henderson & Hodgson
  • Ornate scale Crystallotesta ornata (Maskell)
  • Turtleshell scale Ctenochiton chelyon Henderson & Hodgson
  • Spotted sixpenny scale Ctenochiton paraviridis Henderson & Hodgson
  • Toronia scale Ctenochiton toru Henderson & Hodgson
  • Sixpenny scale Ctenochiton viridis Maskell
  • Peppercorn scale Epelidochiton piperis  (Maskell)
  • Limpet scale Inglisia patella Maskell
  • Glassy coprosma scale Kalasiris depressa (Maskell)
  • Fringed scale Kalasiris perforata (Maskell)
  • Golden plumed scale Plumichiton flavus (Maskell)
  • Black plumed scale Plumichiton elaeocarpi (Maskell)
  • Rough scale Umbonichiton hymenantherae (Maskell)

Kamahi, nīkau and ferns

  • Transparent kamahi scale Aphenochiton kamahi Henderson & Hodgson
  • Glassy nīkau scale Plumichiton nikau Henderson& Hodgson
  • Glassy fern scale Pounamococcus cuneatus Henderson & Hodgson


Shrubs and herbs that can sometimes be covered by snow in winter and only one soft scale insects is found here:

  • Crown scale Plumichiton diadema Henderson & Hodgson


Near seashore

Sometimes inland But always found on Pōhutukawa and rātā [Metrosideros species]

three button scales are found here:

  • Pōhutukawa button scale Lecanochiton actites Henderson & Hodgson
  • Rātā button scale Lecanochiton metrosideri Maskell
  • Small button scale Lecanochiton scutellaris Henderson & Hodgson



Four different soft scale insects are found on podocarps, mainly rimu and tōtara:

  • Ornate scale Crystallotesta ornata (Maskell)
  • Rimu scale Poropeza dacrydii (Maskell)
  • Obscure tōtara scale Umbonichiton adelus Henderson & Hodgson
  • Snakeskin scale Umbonichiton pellaspis Henderson & Hodgson


Two soft scale insects are found in shrubland, mainly Coprosma or Hebe:

Inconspicuous scale Aphenochiton inconspicuus (Maskell)

Prostrate scale Aphenochiton pronus Henderson & Hodgson


Exotic soft scales

Some of the exotic species have very wide host plant ranges (they are polyphagous). In areas disturbed by human activity, e.g., bush margins, they can even be found on some native plants, and two of them, soft brown scale and hemispherical scale, have spread a little bit further into native forest.


Eight different types of soft scale insects are found on shrubs, trees and ferns in areas modified by humans (gardens and home orchards)

Chinese wax scale Ceroplastes sinensis Del Guercio

Soft brown scale Coccus hesperidum Linnaeus

Long brown scale Coccus longulus (Douglas)

Nigra scale Parasaissetia nigra (Nietner)

Cottony hydrangea scale Pulvinaria hydrangeae Steinweden

Ice plant scale Pulvinaria mesembryanthemi (Vallot)

Hemispherical scale Saissetia coffeae (Walker)

Olive scale or black scale Saissetia oleae (Olivier)



Five different soft scale insects are found on citrus, stonefruits and feijoas in orchards:

Soft wax scale Ceroplastes destructor Newstead

Chinese wax scale Ceroplastes sinensis Del Guercio

Brown scale Parthenolacanium corni (Bouche)

Cottony vine scale Pulvinaria vitis (Linnaeus)

Black scale or olive scale Saissetia oleae (Olivier)