Ensign scales are relatively uniform in their morphology and are easily distinguished from other scale families. Ortheziidae Amyot and Serville was first used as a family by Enderlein (1914).
Ortheziids occur in all zoogeographical regions of the world. They are most speciose in the Neotropical and Nearctic regions, and the least numerous in the Australasian and Oriental areas.
Ortheziids occur on a broad diversity of host plants ranging from mosses and fungi to grasses and woody shrubs, even on small herbaceous plants.
Ensign scales have 4 instars in the female and most likely 5 instars in the male. It is unknown if the prepupa is mobile like most margarodoid groups or is sedentary like other scale insects. The life history of these scales is not well described. In the greenhouse on coleus Insignorthezia insignis (Browne) could complete a life cycle in 30 days and reproduction was strictly parthenogenetic. Offspring were deposited over 24 days and from 80-102 nymphs were produced per female (Shivakumar and Lakshmikantha 2001). Feeding occurred on the foliage of the plants.