Seashells in the Kala­hari?

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QBRITTA MARE from Rood­e­poort writes: I no­ticed these shells on a plant next to the pool at the Kang Ul­tra Stop in Botswana. What are they?

AEn­to­mol­o­gist DUN­CAN MAC­FADYEN says: This is ac­tu­ally a kind of scale in­sect be­long­ing to the fam­ily Mar­go­di­dae. It’s a cos­mopoli­tan pest that feeds on a range of plants through­out south­ern Africa. No mate is re­quired: each in­sect is a self­fer­til­iz­ing her­maph­ro­dite.

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