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Bug of the Week: Brown Soft Scale

We have some dwarf pomegranates growing in our back yard.

dwarf-pomegranate-fruit

Last week I noticed one of the fruit was pale and had brown spots.

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A closer look revealed some insects. Do you see them?

brown-scale-pomegranate-12

I have to admit the brown discoloration makes it difficult to pick out the insects.

brown-scale-pomegranate-1103

Here's a better look. Those ovals with the brown stripe down the middle are brown soft scales.

How did they get there? The stage of scale insects that move are the hatchlings, called crawlers. Usually they don't move far, but sometimes the crawlers may travel on animals or be dispersed on the wind.

Once on a suitable plant, the crawlers insert their sucking mouthparts into the plant and remain in place throughout the rest of their lives. Not a very exciting existence, if you ask me.

parasitised-brown-scale

Do I need to be concerned about the scales? Nope, because I noticed the black lump. It doesn't look like much, but it is the offspring of a parasitic wasp. Soon those scales will be history.

If you'd like to see the wasps and some other organisms that use scales for foods, see oak scales at Nature Posts.

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