The largest family of scale insects, with almost 2,500 spp. in ~400 genera worldwide(1)
Females small and soft-bodied, concealed under a scale that is usually free from the body of the insect. Scale is made of wax along with remnants of cast skins of earlier instars.
Eggs hatch into legged, mobile nymphs known as crawlers, which wander around looking for new places to feed. These crawlers attach themselves to the host plant- in the case of females, permanently. Males, upon maturity, seek out females to mate with.
Reproduction may be sexual or parthenogenetic. Some species are oviparous (laying eggs), others are viviparous (giving birth to living young).(2)
They weaken plants by sucking their sap and may eventually kill them.