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Obscure Scale

United States National Collection of Scale Insects Photographs Archive, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org
 Melanaspis obscura - As its name implies, obscure scale is difficult to detect, particularly when it occurs on trees with dark-colored bark. The protective cover above the insect is typically gray but is often the same color as the bark. This cover will have a diameter of no more than 3mm when the insect is mature. At times, a small black cap is evident near the center of the cover. All developmental stages except the immature female stage are pink in color. Immature females are light yellow to cream. The first stage of development following egg hatch is called the crawler stage. This developmental stage is the only one other than the adult male stage that possesses legs and is able to walk. Crawlers tend to settle under their maternal cover or under covers of past generations and begin forming their cover. This encrusting behavior results in patches of scale covers several layers deep that resemble roughened areas on the bark.

Obscure scale primarily affects oaks, chestnuts, pecan and other hickories, but also several other ornamental trees.
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