• Scale insects;
  • Matsucoccus;
  • Pinus monophylla;
  • deme formation;
  • transfer experiments

ABSTRACT. 1. Deme formation is the transformation of a generalist population into one which is adapted to its local conditions. This adaptation has been inferred from many things but should be inferred from higher survival or fecundity of scale insects on their natal tree compared to that of immigrant scales on the same tree.

2. Transfers of the scale insect Matsucoccus acalyptus Herbert within and between infested host trees (Pinus monophylla (Torr. & Frem.) resulted in significant differences in scale survivorship among recipient trees. Survival on individual trees was correlated across years, indicating stable differences in tree susceptibility to scale.

3. A significant natal tree colonized tree interaction was observed for late stage scale survival in one experiment but the interaction was not caused by superior survivorship of scales transferred back to the natal tree. Hence, we found no evidence of deme formation in M.acalyptus.

4. Previous studies have concluded that deme formation occurs in the black pineleaf scale based on a significant natal tree by colonized tree interaction in scale survival. We question this conclusion because the experimental design employed did not include transfers back onto the natal tree. Other indirect evidence for deme formation in scale insects is critically discussed.