Found a really bizarre looking scale insect, Paralecanium Expansum Metallicum. From far, it look like a metal plate on a leaf. Size about 7mm dia. Taken at night in Singapore forest.
Quote from www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/sp…
Scale insects are true bugs, members of the order Hemiptera that feed on liquid food via modified tubular mouthparts known as stylets. While all scale insects feed on plants, some attack crop plants and are notorious agricultural pests.
Scale insects are very diverse in appearance but all females have reduced mobility as adults. Some can only move about at all in the first nymphal stage, termed a crawler. Paralecanium expansum metallicum belongs to the family Coccidae. These are known as soft scales because they are not protected by a cover (known as a test). This particular scale insect has a strange and attractive appearance. They look like tiny metallic discs on leaves. Under a microscope the adult female is also a most curious-looking insect, with extraordinary marginal setae shaped like tiny table tennis bats.
Paralecanium expansum metallicum lives in forested tropical environments in south-east Asia. In forests, the metallic females may resemble splashes of sunlight filtering through the canopy, perhaps explaining how this feature has evolved. It, and other members of the genus Paralecanium, seems to prefer feeding on the upper surfaces of leaves. P. expansum metallicum develops in small colonies on the upper surfaces of the leaves of its hosts, whereas most other phytophagous bugs take advantage of the shelter afforded under the leaves.
The presence of the adult female is betrayed by a silver-metallic sheen, almost certainly a form of iridescence. The living insect appears like a splash of metal solder on the leaf.
While scale insects are generally regarded as pests, many are actually specially adapted to natural habitats and so habitat conservation is an issue. P. expansum metallicum is likely to be at risk from habitat loss.