Scale Insects

February 14th, 2012 - 5:55 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

5mm long | July 8, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

I probably wouldn’t have noticed these scale insects were it not for the ants that would occasionally stop to feed from them.

Its difficult to see in the first photo, but each one has 20 or so waxy threads spiraling away from the body. It’s not clear to me where exactly they’re coming from. The threads are a bit easier to see in the next few photos.

Waxy corkscrew shaped filaments radiate out from the body

I wonder if the spirals don’t help the ants to locate the scale.

The scales excrete honeydew from a small orange tube (to the left above, right below).

Side view

Here’s what might be an immature form of these scale insects. The tube where honeydew is excreted is easier to spot here.

Immature scale? | ~2mm

And finally, here’s an ant soliciting honeydew from that same small scale.

Ant (~4mm) soliciting honeydew

I’ll separately post more photos of the ants.

Scale Insects

October 2nd, 2011 - 10:08 AM | Filed under Easter Eggs, Featured Photos | No comments

July 5, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

I assume these are scale insects. When I saw them I remembered the mysterious sign I spotted earlier in the year in Costa Rica. After seeing this, I think scales were probably responsible for that.

Note how they’re arranged along the central leaf vein. They’re undoubtedly taking plant juices through that midvein.

Click on the photo for a larger version and see if you scan spot a small mite (an “easter egg” I didn’t know about when I took the photo). Then see if you can find its recently cast off skin!