Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Hemiptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Superfamily Coccoidea

The former family Coccidae, including Asterolecaniidae, Conchaspididae, Diaspididae, Eriococcidae, Kermesidae, Margarodidae, Ortheziidae, Phoenicococcidae, Pseudococcidae.


Salient features of adults. Terrestrial; the insects dwelling under specially constructed shelters, in the form of scales or lerps, or free living.

Phytophagous (tapping phloem, often producing copious honey-dew and intimately associated with ants). Tiny; represented by both greatly reduced, sedentary forms and ‘normal’, mobile insects; fliers (some males), or non-fliers (females and some males); relatively stout bodied, or with narrow-elongate bodies. Rostrum ostensibly originating between the front legs; not separated from the prosternum by a gula. Antennae longer than the head, readily visible from above; 1–13 segmented; non-aristate. Fore-wings well developed (in some males only, and there the hindwings are reduced to halteres), or vestigial or absent (all females and some males apterous); when macropterous, more or less uniform in texture; with transparent cells; when present, without costal fracture and cuneus; without a clavus. Tarsi when legs present, 1 segmented; when present, one-clawed. The abdomen without secretory ‘cornicles’.

Including the most structurally modified of all Hemiptera. The females scale-like, gall-like or associated with conspicuous, waxy secretions, sometimes legless; the males with degenerate mouthparts, winged or apterous. Insects not covered with white powder. In winged forms, hind-wings smaller than fore-wings.

Taxonomy. Suborder Homoptera. Sternorrhyncha. Coccoidea.

British representation. About 95 species in Britain; genera about 180. Chionaspis, Eulecanium, Icerya, Pseudococcus, etc.

Comments. Including numerous agricultural and horticultural pests. Members of the group worldwide are (or have been) valuable sources of dyes (e.g., cochineal), lacquers (e.g., shellac), cosmetics, food (‘manna’), medicines, candlewax, etc.

Illustrations. • Chionaspis, Eulecanium, Icerya and Pseudococcus. • Coccus aceris: = Aleurochiton aceris, but cf. Eulecanium tiliae. B. Ent. 717. • Coccus aceris: B. Ent. 717, legend+text. • coccus aceris: B. Ent. 717, text cont..

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Hemiptera. Version: 16th May 2016.’.