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Flatid Larvae - Dialeurodes citri

Flatid Larvae - Dialeurodes citri
Rutherfordton, Rutherford County, North Carolina, USA
Size: 2mm approx.
I have a few Lilac bushes growing out back of the house. Late in the spring they are covered with Flatids or Leaf Hoppers and they usually remain throughout the summer. I am wondering if this/these could be the larvae. As you can see there are three items that appear as spines, for the lack of a better term. The one in the upper left at the end of the body has a "siphon" which opens and closes at various intervals, the other two do not. The bottoms of the leaves on the bushes are covered with pale green dots. When examined utilizing a microscope, the posted image is what's revealed. Could this be a Flatid larvae? Note: the small shiny oval object directly below, appeared to be an egg of some kind. When examined at higher magnifications, it appeared only as a translucent orb with no distinctive markings. Apologies for the glare at various points, a duel pipe fiber optic illuminator was utilized in taking this image.

Moved from Whiteflies.

Dialeurodes citri
Dialeurodes citri, Citrus Whitefly nymph. It has a number of hosts and lilac is among them.

I doubt it
Homoptera don't have complete metamorphosis like Diptera or Lepidoptera- the babies are nymphs that are more or less like miniature, wingles versions of the adults.

The only thing remotely similar that I know of: females of scale insects, which change from a legged form to a legless form, not the other way around.

Do these things move around on the substrate? Could you peel one off with a scalple and check it out on a slide? It might move then. At present, it could be happy where it is, especially if it's tapped into a food supply. It reminds me of some flat lifeforms from Startrek, so have your phaser ready!

No I have not observed them to move around any at all. They seem to be pretty much sessile and enjoy being where they are. I am going to assume that they are tapped in to the leaf as their source of nourishment. As long as they do not crawl down our throats and jump out of our chests, I think we can consider them harmless to us at least. :)

I Doubt It
I went to the Virginia Dept. of Entomology
by Googling "scale insects." Browsing their site, I came across whiteflies. This could be the pupae of those insects. What do you think Chuck, thanks for your comments.

Actually, I was going to suggest pretty much the same thing. After pontificating about mobile nymphs and stationary adults in scale insects I found out that- while flatids have the usual adult-looking nymphs- their distant relatives, the whiteflies, hatch out as regular nymphs, then attach and lose their limbs like a scale insect, then end up as a winged adult. That should teach me not to make absolute statements!

Take a look at the Citrus Whitefly nymph in this page. Notice that it's a nymph- not a larva or a pupa (so I wasn't completely wrong).

Thats It Chuck!
You found it! (I feel like part of a "Peanuts" strip)The Citrus Whitefly. Now I know what I am watching out back of the house here. Yep, that's it. Thanks to all of you for your help. I made the comment that I was only finding them on the Lilac bush and right now that is so but I recall I did find one or two on my Gray Dogwoods at one time during the late summer. I have two of them, one growing out front of the house and one out back. Well thanks again all, I hope that I can return the favor sometime soon, however I am just now starting to learn about insects, so I have a long ways to go. :)

to Superfamily Aleyroidea page until someone can confirm ID to a lower taxonomic level

May be related species
I don't know enough about whiteflies to say that this is the same species- but at least we're probably close.

That's a pretty amazing metamorphosis
for something that doesn't have true metamorphosis! Good work. What sleuths!

My guess is also a scale. See this photo of a Cottony camellia's almost at the bottom of the page.

You know Lynette, you may be right. That looks awfully close to what I have photographed. I wish the images were a bit more sharp but a very good comparison. I looked mainly at the spines exhibited by the C camellia scale to see just how many there were and there appeared to be more than the three shown in my photograph but the evidence of that "siphon," as I call it, is there too it seems.

You know another thing I noticed is that they are only on the underside of the Lilac bush leaves and not on other leaves nearby such as Honeysuckle and a few other vines and plants that still keep their leaves during winter. Wonder why that is? Well anyway, thanks for the link and comment Lynette and to all the others who commented as well. I will have to keep an eye on these things as spring gets nearer here in North Carolina. :)

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