Also known as “tortoise scales,” there are over 1,100 species in this family worldwide. Scale insects begin their lives looking like very small insects. Females then develop protective shell-like waxy plates, their external organs shrink, and they become immobile. Males remain small and winged, but they live only for a few days.
Scale insects excrete honeydew as they feed. Ants harvest the honeydew and defend the scale insects in exchange.
Most scale insects are plant parasites that feed on tree juices.
The pictured fig wax scale Ceroplastes rusci is common on fig trees.