Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua


Where might soft scales be found, and on what plants?

Seven habitat types of native soft scales - all on native plants

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 forest, Eglington Valley. Image - Graeme Henderson
Beech — Nothofagus species in beech forest
Kānuka. Image - Graeme Henderson
Kānuka — both kānuka [Kunzea ericoides] and mānuka [Leptospermum scoparium]
Broadleaf forest, Waitakere ranges. Image - Fiona Henderson
Lowland forest — mixed broadleaf forest types, other than podocarps and kānuka.
Kaweka Range, Hawkes Bay. Image - Graeme Henderson
Mountain — shrubs and herbs that can sometimes be covered by snow in winter
Pōhutukawa, Hauraki Gulf.
Near seashore — pōhutukawa and rātā [Metrosideros species]
Rimu, Waitakere ranges. Image - Fiona Henderson
Podocarps — mostly tōtara and rimu.
Coprosma shrubland, Birdlings Flat, Christchurch
Shrubland — often consisting of Coprosma or Hebe species

Three habitat types of exotic soft scales - mostly on non-native plants

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.

Tītoki Point, a country garden. Image - Fiona Henderson
Gardens — shrubs, trees and ferns
Oranges, a Gisborne orchard. Image - Photo: Fiona Henderson
Orchards — citrus, feijoa and stonefruits
Ice plant, Muriwai Beach. Image - Fiona Henderson
Seashore — the ice plant scale

Follow any habitat link, for example the link to lowland forest, and view thumbnail photos of the insects, then click on a species to find out all its known host plants and some of its biology. See also pages about the life cycle & terms, and parasitoids and fungal pathogens that can attack soft scale insects.

Photos by Rosa Henderson unless acknowledged otherwise. More information [online] in Fauna of New Zealand 41 Coccidae, written by Chris Hodgson & Rosa Henderson, 2000, published by Manaaki Whenua Press.