Scale insects of the subfamily Myzolecaniinae (Hemiptera: Coccidae) are of particular interest because of their biology, wide distribution and morphology. These soft scale insects are knowm for their symbiotic relations with ants that constantly tend, clean, protect and even transport them in exchange for nutritious honeydew. Many morphological features found in these scale insects are reduced or lost entirely, presumably as a result of this symbiotic relationship. The monophyly of the group was tested with a cladistic parsimony analysis using characters of both adult females and 1st instar nymphs (crawlers). The data suggests that the Myzolecaniinae is a polyphyletic group, and is composed of at least two unrelated lineages. One group composed of Old World taxa and the other by New World taxa. The present study demonstrates the importance of the crawler stage in scale insect systematics and indicates that studies based solely on the female adult stage should be used with caution.
Species 1: Hemiptera Coccidae
Keywords: Phylogenetic systematics, Scale insects
The ESA 2001 Annual Meeting - 2001: An Entomological Odyssey of ESA