The scale insects are small insects of the order Hemiptera, notable for their habit of secreting a waxy covering that covers their bodies. They are generally classified as the superfamilyCoccoidea, consisting of over 7,000 species grouped into 28 families.
As hemipterans, scale insects feed on wide variety of plants, and many types are major plant pests. Other types are economically valuable, such as the cochineal scales and lac scales.
Scale insects are unusual in that the females retain their larval form at sexual maturity, while the adult males have wings but never feed and die within a day or two. The specifics of their reproductive systems vary considerably within the group, including hermaphroditism and seven forms of parthenogenesis.
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