Latania scale

Hemiberlesia lataniae

Female latania scales appear larvae-like. They remain under armor in one place throughout their lives to feed and reproduce. Males are very different in appearance and behavior from females. The males are tiny, winged creatures with eyes and legs. Mature males emerge from the armor in the late afternoon. They do not feed, and they live for only a few hours to mate. Mate-finding is probably aided by pheromones secreted by females.

Damage: The first sign of latania scale is the presence of armor on upper and lower leaf surfaces, fruits, and stems of plants. The female armor is round and convex, white or dirty white, and 1.5 to 2 mm (less than 1/8 in) in diameter. When the population is large, the shape of the armor becomes irregular. The cast skins of the nymph form a large, yellowish to dark brown spot forming a central or subcentral (off center) exuvium. Male armor is smaller and oval rather than round. The armor must be pried off to reveal the insect attached to the plant by thread-like mouthparts that start at the middle of the body and are as long or longer than the body. The adult female insect is flat, pear-shaped, lemon yellow, without wings, legs, or eyes. Dead scales are dark brown and dried rather than plump. Armored scales feed on plant juices and cause a loss of vigor, deformation of infested plant parts, yellowish spots on leaves, loss of leaves, and even death of the plant. Since scales are spread by introduction of infested material they are a quarantine problem on exported potted plants, cut flowers, and cut foliage.

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