This interactive identification key can be used to identify 156 armored scale insect species from the tribe Aspidiotini (Hemiptera: Diaspididae). This tribe includes several polyphagous and specialist pests that are commonly encountered at ports of entry to the United States and many other countries. The included species are recognized as minor to major pests or are considered to be potential emergent pests. Many of the species included are widely distributed and the tool is intended to be applicable toward an international audience. However, the list is based largely upon quarantine interceptions from the United States.
A potential problem with the key is that it does not contain all species in a genus, resulting in possible “false positive” identification. For this reason, it is important to compare the specimen against voucher collections, descriptions, and/or illustrations. Each species is linked to the corresponding ScaleNet Database entry (http://scalenet.info/), which includes reference information along with other useful metadata, such as the published host range and geographical distribution. The database will eventually include illustrations for many species, but this feature is still in development. If any question remains regarding the identification of a specimen, a specialist should be consulted.
The first feature encountered in the key, “pores near anterior spiracles,” is intended to weed-out species that do not belong in tribe Aspidiotini. If the specimen possesses pores near the anterior spiracles, it is not included in this tribe and this key will not aid in identifying the specimen. For further information on the identification of tribe Aspidiotini see the following article:
Schneider, S.A., A. Okusu, and B.B. Normark. 2018. Molecular phylogenetics of Aspidiotini armored scale insects (Hemiptera: Diaspididae) reveals rampant paraphyly, curious species radiations, and multiple origins of association with Melissotarsus ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 129: 291-303, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2018.09.003.
For introductory instructions on using a Lucid key, please visit the Scale Insects "how to use the key" page. For tips and tricks on how to more effectively use a Lucid key, please visit ITP's Lucid best practices page.
For questions or comments about the key content, please contact Scott Schneider, USDA ARS SEL (firstname.lastname@example.org). For questions about website access, please contact USDA APHIS ITP (email@example.com).
To identify other scale insects and mealybugs of quarantine significance, please visit ITP's Scale Insects tool.