Download high resolution image here.
I found this insect in great numbers on the needles of a pinyon tree (Pinus edulis
) in a residential front yard on General Chennault St, Albuquerque NE, NM (Alameda 7.5 minute quadrangle
). I originally misidentified it as Matsucoccus acalyptus(1)
from its host, and images of the adult female of the species and the empty larval cyst coverings
on the needles on which it resided, as shown in Gill 1988(2)
and Steed 2010
. The cyst turned out to be from a different species of scale insect
which coinhabited the tree.
Two views of the live specimen as found perched on a pinyon needle are linked here. Adult females of this species retain a soft-bodied larval form. So, after the live shots, I soaked it for a few days each in 95% ethanol, then acetone, then HMDS(3)
to prevent it from shriveling for the linked high-resolution stacked images.
I sent a vial of the adult females in 95% ethanol to Ian Stocks
. He replied:
"I have identified the mealybugs, but they are not even in the genus Matsucoccus - they are in a separate family, as a matter of fact, the closely related family Pityococcidae, Pityococcus rugulosus McKenzie (http://www.sel.barc.usda.gov/catalogs/pityococ/Pityococcusrugulosus.htm
). It appears not to have been collected since its description in 1942(4)
, and no other stages (immatures, males) have been described."
Ian has written an Entomology Specimen Report to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, describing it as a new state record for the species in New Mexico. This is the first BugGuide submission for family Pityococcidae.
This image was taken with a Canon 35 mm F/2.8 Macrophoto Lens
set to F/16 + adapter/extension tube + Nikon D300 camera.
Phases of development: