I don’t really have a lot of knowledge about scale insects, often referred to simply as scales, but what odd little creatures! Being in the order Hemiptera means they have a shared lineage with stinkbugs, assassin bugs, aphids, et al., which is quite astonishing just going by the looks of it. Just looking at them, it’s hard to believe they’re animals!
BugGuide.net tells us that they are plant parasites; that as females mature they lose appendages and begin to look more like growths than insects (as seen above!); and that males are generally unnoticed but may look like a winged aphid. All in all, an odd little beast that proves, you just never know what you might find if you go looking.