Subject: Bugs
Location: Dullstroom, Mpumalanga, South Africa
December 23, 2013 11:48 pm
Trying to find out what this bug is. Found in grasslands against rocks.
Signature: Charl

Possibly Scale Insects

Soft Scale Insects, NOT Planthopper Nymphs

Dear Charl,
If you had only sent one photo, we might have doubted that these were insects because they almost look like fungus.  Providing the view from beneath reveals the tiny legs.  Our first guess is that these must be Planthoppers or some other immature stage in the development of a Hemipteran, an order with many member that secrete a waxy sustance for protection.  We also would not rule out that this might be a larval Sawfly, another group with members known to secrete a waxy protection like this individual from BugGuide.  We have an image from Madagascar that was never properly identified that looks similar, but not exactly like your image.  We suspected those creatures to be Planthopper Nymphs.  There are similar images on the Lonely Traveler Blog that are identified as being Flattid Planthopper Nymps.  An even closer match is the adult female Coconut Mealybug, 
Nipaecoccus nipae, that is pictured on Featured Creatures.  There is also a similar photo of a Coconut Mealybug on the University of Florida IFAS Extension site which indicates it is found in Africa.  While we are not certain of a species identification, we are confident that this is some insect in the order Hemiptera.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide something more definite.

Possibly Unknown Hemipteran

Soft Scale Insect

Hi Daniel,
Thanks so very much for your efforts. Will study further and should I discover anything will let you know.
A merry Christmas to you.
Kind regards,
Charl Strydom.

Update:  December 28, 2013
We just received a comment indicating that this is a Soft Scale Insect in the family Coccidae.

Update:  January 4, 2014
Subject: Insects
Location: Dullstroom, Mpumalanga, South Africa
January 4, 2014 7:41 am
Update to “Mystery Insects from South Africa are Soft Scales” posted 23rd Dec 2013.
Found more and adding photo’s.
Signature: Charl

Soft Scale

Soft Scale

Thanks for sending additional images Charl.

Soft Scale

Soft Scale


Location: Dullstroom, Mpumalanga, South Africa

2 Responses to Mystery Insects from South Africa are Soft Scales

  1. rjpretor says:

    Hi. These are soft scales in the family Coccidae. Species identification from photos alone will likely be very troublesome.

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