Australian Soft Scale (Coccidae) Genera

 Australian Soft Scale (Coccidae) Genera Lucid keyThis is the first key to the known genera of Australian soft scales (Sternorryncha: Coccoidea: Coccidae). About 80 described species of soft scales in 26 genera have been recorded from Australia (Ben-Dov et al. 2009). The real diversity of Australian soft scales in poorly known; most Australian specimens can not be identified to genus (Gullan and Hodgson 1998).

Froggatt (1921) was the last to review the fauna comprehensively. Hodgson (1994) described and illustrated the type species of each soft scale genus recognized at that time, and provided keys to subfamilies and genera, but the keys are based on only the type species of each genus. Therefore, they fail to capture the morphological diversity in each genus and many specimens cannot be properly identified. Since 1994 a number of new Australian genera have been erected.

This key should permit relatively painless generic identification of properly slide-mounted specimens of described species known to occur in Australia. In many cases, specific identification should also be possible with this tool; several genera are monotypic, and if a dichotomous key to species was previously available for a particular group we have included it in the HTML document for each genus.

PJ Gullan and CJ Hodgson have been working for some time on a revision of the Australian soft scales. One issue in addition to undescribed taxa is that the current classification poorly reflects ancestry. This key should help you to place your query specimen in the context of the present state of classification, flawed though it may be.


This key draws heavily from many sources, especially the work of P Gullan, C Hodgson, T Kondo, T Qin, G Watson and D Williams. N Hardy was primarily responsible for building the key, with extensive input and feedback from T Kondo. T Kondo also has provided all of the habitus images and much of the supporting material, for example unpublished dichotomous keys, glossary figures and definitions.

Key was produced by Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries

All photos by T Kondo.