|Neutral ||kennedyh ||On Feb 16, 2010, kennedyh from Churchill, Victoria
(Zone 10a) wrote:
This strange leathery creature had me totally baffled. I couldn't even place it in an order without expert assistance.
It proves to be a cousin of the mealybugs and was originally placed in the family Coccidae (the mealybugs andscale insects). This family was divided and it became a member of the Margarodidae, which was then further divided and it is now in a small family, sharing its name, the Callipappidae.
The male is apparently spectacular, looking fly like, but having long colourful tail streamers (like a bird of paradise). The female is a squat leathery lump. Apparently the larval stages feed underground on the roots of a host plant (possibly a Banksia). The adult female crawls to the surface and climbs any convenient flat surface. The one I found was on a leaf of a Dune Sedge (Lepidospema concavum). She has no mouth parts, so never feeds. She just sits there waiting for a male to find her and then lays her eggs and the larvae when they emerge crawl down into the ground to feed.