Common name

Stictococcids

Field characters

Body flattened dorsally but with margin raised off host surface like edge of coin; anal opening near center of body; body segmentation deeply grooved in submarginal areas; mealy wax beneath body; somewhat similar in appearance to soft scales but raised body margin and anal opening distinctive.

Validation characters

Anal opening near middle of body; anal structure with sclerotized ring surrounding an anterior and posterior plate each with several setae; marginal setae usually larger than other setae, often ornate; tarsal digitules unusually large, extra enlarged tarsal seta also present.

Notes

This is a relatively homogenous group of scale insects. The thoracic spiracles may lack associated pores or have them imbedded in a sclerotized area contiguous with the atrium. Stictococcidae Lindinger was first used as a family by Balachowsky (1942).

Distribution

Stictococcids are known only from the Afrotropical region where they are important agricultural pests.

Hosts

Stictococcids have been recorded on 38 different families of host plants including such agricultural crops as Cola, Coffea, Piper, Theobroma, and Manihot. They are most common on Anonnaceae, Fabaceae, Sterculiaceae, and Euphorbiaceae.

Life history

Stictococcids apparently have 3 female instars and 5 male instars. Although stictococcids look like slightly unusual soft scales, they are not ordinary in their life history. First instars are sexually dimorphic; females have the anal area in the center of the body and have well developed mouthparts whereas males have the anal area near the posterior end of the body and essentially lack mouthparts. Males never feed themselves but obtain all of their sustenance from their mother. Most species are closely associated with ants.

Important references

Buchner 1963a; Dejean and Matile-Ferrero 1996; Richard 1971, 1976.

Diversity

Click here for a check list of all stictococcid genera and species.