Scale Insect from Honduras

Subject:  Ants protect it.
Geographic location of the bug:  Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Date: 01/22/2018
Time: 04:30 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this “button” like thing, along with a few other attached to a chia stem. Ants seems to be feeding from them and protects them.
How you want your letter signed:  Quique.

Scale Insect

Dear Quique,
We feel pretty confident this is a Scale Insect in the Hemiptera superfamily Coccoidea which includes Mealybugs as well as Scale Insects.  These are plant parasitic Hemipterans that are immobile as adults.  Like many other Hemipterans, including Aphids and many Hoppers, the Scale Insects exude a sweet “honeydew” that is attractive to Ants, so Ants often care for the Hemipterans.  Planet Natural has a nice posting regarding Scale Insects.

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