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Orthezia urticae from CSIRO.jpg
Female nettle ensign scale, Orthezia urticae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Sternorrhyncha
Superfamily: Coccoidea
Family: Ortheziidae
Amyot and Serville[1]
See text

Ortheziidae is a family of scale insects commonly known as the ensign scales or ortheziids. They occur in most parts of the world but the majority of the species are found in the Neotropics and Nearctic regions while there are not many species in Australasia and the Far East.[2] There are twenty valid genera and 198 species.[3]


Ensign scales are found on a wide range of host plants including mosses, grasses, small herbaceous plants, woody shrubs and even fungi.[2]


Adult ensign scales have six dark coloured legs, a pair of dark antennae and stalked eyes. The apex of the antennae have thick terminal bristly setae. There are several abdominal spiracles and an anal ring on the dermal surface, with pores and setae. The upper surface of the body is covered in a thick waxy secretion giving it a decorated, fluted appearance.[2]

Life cycle[edit]

Ensign scales have four instars in the female and usually five instars in the male. It is unclear whether the prepupa is mobile like most other members of the margarodoid group of scale insects. The eggs are usually laid in an ovisac attached to the perimeter of the ventral abdomen by a band.[2]



  1. ^ Enderlein, G. 1914. [Scale insects]. 369-370. In: Brohmer, P. (Editor), Fauna von Deutschland, ein Bestimmungsbuch unserer heimischen Tierwelt. [Fauna of Germany; a definition book of our native animal world]. , Leipzig.
  2. ^ a b c d UDSA Agricultural Research Service
  3. ^ Kozár, F. 2004. In: , Ortheziidae of the World. Plant Protection Institute, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary. 525 pp