Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

FNZ 51 - Coccidae males (Insecta: Hemiptera: Coccoidea) - Popular summary

Hodgson, CJ; Henderson, RC 2004. Coccidae (Insecta: Hemiptera: Coccoidea): adult males, pupae and prepupae of indigenous species. Fauna of New Zealand 51, 228 pages.
( ISSN 0111-5383 (print), ; no. 51. ISBN 0-478-09360-8 (print) ). Published 22 Jun 2004

Popular summary

Male soft scale insects

The soft scale family Coccidae is one of ten families of plant sucking scale insects present in New Zealand. The adult females are relatively long lived (normally at least a month or more), and it is this stage that is usually found and thus most often used to identify any given species. The adult females differ greatly from the adult males and pass through 2 or 3 immature (nymphal) stages before finally moulting into a stage that is rather nymph-like but develops ovaries and can reproduce. Adult females lack wings and tend to have relatively short legs and antennae. In addition, the division of the body into head, thorax and abdomen is not obvious. It is this stage that is economically important. The adult females of all soft scale species known from New Zealand were described and illustrated by Hodgson & Henderson in 2000, when their biology, distribution, host-plant interactions, parasites and predators, and economic importance were discussed.

On the other hand, the adult males of all soft scales known from New Zealand are reasonably typical insects in that they have wings (although only the anterior pair are properly developed), long legs and antennae, and their body is clearly divided into head, thorax, and abdomen. However, they lack functional mouthparts and so live for only a day or two and are therefore much less well known - indeed, most of those studied have been reared in the laboratory. Even when the males described in this contribution are included, the adult males of less than 10% of the world's soft scale species are known.

The life cycle of the male differs significantly from that of the female. Males have a mobile 1st instar apparently identical morphologically to that of the 1st-instar female; these 1st instars are known as crawlers. They moult into a 2nd stage nymph or instar that may initially be mobile but later settles (sometimes on a different plant species to those of the females) and feeds for a few weeks. As a 2nd instar, it secretes a glassy tent or test that completely covers the nymph, is firmly attached to the substrate by wax secreted by marginal tubular ducts around the margin, and forms a protective cover whilst the insect undergoes metamorphosis, shielding it from environmental excesses such as dehydration. The 2nd-instar nymph moults into the 3rd stage referred to as the prepupa, which lives beneath the test secreted by the 2nd instar and does not feed. The prepupa eventually moults into another non-feeding stage called a pupa and then finally into the adult male, still beneath the glassy test of the 2nd instar. This male cycle takes as long as that of the female so the males emerge at the same time as the adult females.

This volume of the Fauna of New Zealand describes all the known adult males, pupae, and prepupae of indigenous soft scales of New Zealand.