The first information on the symbionts of Coccidae is obtained as a by-product of an anatomical study of Coccus hesperidum L., it is reported the presence of bodies, around 4μm long and probably parasitic, in the haemolymph of this common soft scale. The bodies are described as lanceolate-shaped and capable of multiplying by budding at one end. The hereditary transmission of the symbionts through the eggs of a soft scale is also reported. It is hypothesised that a mutualistic symbiotic association might exist between these microorganisms and the species of soft scales. The yeast-like symbionts of Coccidae do not engage the host organisms in the intimate participation processes documented for other groups of scale insects, such as pseudococcids and diaspidids. The rather uniform type of localization in haemolymph, even if involving normal or polyploidized fat cells in some species, is an indication of a rather weak relationship. One of the reasons for uniformity might be that these insects do not seem to have undergone the changes in feeding behaviour known for pseudococcids, diaspidoids and several other groups. On the other hand, a clear indication that the relationship has reached the stage of a permanent link is provided by the obligatory mechanism of hereditary transmission.
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