A week ago, when pulling up some of the many Morrow’s honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii) bushes at the edge of my yard, I found some Phyllonorycter (Gracillariidae) mines in a few of the leaves, so I stuffed these into a vial to try and find out exactly what species of moth was responsible. Last night Julia spotted a tiny (1.7 mm) white bug in the vial that I hadn’t noticed before. My first impression was of a young mealybug destroyer, but when I looked at it through my macro lens today I discovered that it was another wax-covered insect: an ensign scale (Ortheziidae), the first I’ve ever seen.
Not much seems to be known about these, but after checking a few sources I believe this is a female, unusual among female scale insects in having long legs and walking around rather than being sedentary and concealed beneath a scale-like covering. There are 31 species of ensign scales in the United States, and they can be found on just about any part of a plant including the roots. Some feed on fungal hyphae instead of (or maybe in addition to) plant juices.