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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2002 Oct;25(1):43-52.

A preliminary phylogeny of the scale insects (Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha: Coccoidea) based on nuclear small-subunit ribosomal DNA.

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  • 1School of Botany and Zoology, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia. lyn.cooke@anu.edu.au


Scale insects (Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha: Coccoidea) are a speciose and morphologically specialized group of plant-feeding bugs in which evolutionary relationships and thus higher classification are controversial. Sequences derived from nuclear small-subunit ribosomal DNA were used to generate a preliminary molecular phylogeny for the Coccoidea based on 39 species representing 14 putative families. Monophyly of the archaeococcoids (comprising Ortheziidae, Margarodidae sensu lato, and Phenacoleachia) was equivocal, whereas monophyly of the neococcoids was supported. Putoidae, represented by Puto yuccae, was found to be outside the remainder of the neococcoid clade. These data are consistent with a single origin (in the ancestor of the neococcoid clade) of a chromosome system involving paternal genome elimination in males. Pseudococcidae (mealybugs) appear to be sister to the rest of the neococcoids and there are indications that Coccidae (soft scales) and Kerriidae (lac scales) are sister taxa. The Eriococcidae (felt scales) was not recovered as a monophyletic group and the eriococcid genus Eriococcus sensu lato was polyphyletic.

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