Nettle Ensign Scales Orthezia urticae
In early October, Andrew Curran found these tiny creatures called Nettle Ensign Scales Orthezia urticae, a type of scale insect in the Superfamily Coccoidea. They are related to aphids and mealy bugs and feed on a range of plants, and not just nettles.
All species in the Ortheziidae family secrete overlapping flat plates of wax that cover most of their bodies. Mature females have extended rear plates which act as brood pouches and in which their eggs are laid.
Adult Nettle Ensign Scales have 6 dark-coloured legs, a pair of dark antennae and stalked eyes. Females are flightless; males have wings but are seldom seen.
Nettle Ensign Scales
Longdon, Wyre Forest
Photograph by – Rosemary Winnall