Watch a short video of newly emerged Paralecanium expansum metallicum crawlers, filmed down a microscope. They have hatched from eggs underneath the adult female, whose lower surface is visible.
Most soft scales, and members of several other scale insect families, have a strange life cycle that involves spending almost their entire lives in a sessile (immobile) state.
Phase-contrast photomicrograph of a P. expansum metallicum crawler. The specimen has been stained pink to make it easier to locate on the slide.
P. expansum metallicum crawlers provide a very effective means of dispersal as they are:
Once the crawler has selected a feeding site it undergoes its first moult.
P. expansum metallicum females:
Some other soft scales do have short-but-functional legs but mobility is still extremely limited.
In complete contrast to females, male scale insects have:
So they have very limited time in which to seek out females in order to mate.