The University of Massachusetts Amherst

In Pictures

  • Adult female pine needle scale insect on a pine needle.

Scale Cover: Using Genetic Techniques to Describe New Species

The image above shows an adult female pine needle scale insect on a pine needle. The adult female is not visible beneath the white, oblong-shaped scale cover, but is reddish in color and has a blob-like body shape without eyes, legs and antennae. The female makes the white cover out of fine filaments of wax, extruded from pores in her body. These insects are native and widespread and you can easily see them on almost every pine tree. UMass Amherst evolutionary biologists Ben Normark, Roger Gwiazdowski and colleagues are combining new genetic techniques with traditional morphological tests to describe new species, demonstrating that different species can show little to no visible differences. Learn more.

Photo credit: Rodger Gwiazdowski