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Genus Amphorophora

Berry aphids

Species Overview: Genus Amphorophora  Amphorophora idaei  Amphorophora rubi 

Genus Amphorophora [Macrosiphini]

Amphorophora are medium-sized to large rather pale greenish aphids. Adult viviparae may be winged or wingless. The body is elongate or oval, with long legs and antennae, the latter longer than body. Their antennal tubercles are well developed, with the inner margins nearly straight and distinctly divergent. The median frontal tubercle is less well developed. The siphunculi are long, distinctly but usually only slightly swollen on apical half, with a clearly marked apical flange, and no polygonal reticulation. The cauda is not very elongate, and somewhat blunt at its apex.

There are about 27 species of Amphorophora aphids, mostly in North America but with some in Europe and Asia. They have a sexual stage in the life cycle. They do not host alternate and feed on the leaves and stems of berries (Rubus spp., Rosaceae) or ferns. They are not attended by ants. Some species are important soft-fruit pests.

 

Amphorophora idaei (Large raspberry aphid)

The large raspberry aphid (Amphorophora idaei) only feeds on raspberry. The apterae (see first picture below) are usually greenish white or pale yellow (cf. Amphorophora rubi  which is darker green and feeds on blackberry). The antennal terminal process is usually more than seven times the length of the last two segments of the rostrum. The siphunculi are slightly swollen on the apical part and 2.1 to 2.6 times the length of the cauda. The cauda is short and triangular. The body length of Amphorophora idaei apterae is 2.7-4.1 mm.

 

The alate Amphorophora idaei (see second picture above) is of similar size but has a brown head and thorax, and has the distal half of the siphunculi darkened.

The large raspberry aphid has a sexual stage in its life cycle and does not host alternate. Oviparae and winged males appear in October-November. Amphorophora idaei feeds on the underside of leaves of raspberry (Rubus idaei) and is found throughout Europe.

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Amphorophora rubi (Large blackberry aphid)

The large blackberry aphid (Amphorophora rubi) feeds on blackberry and related species but not raspberry. Apterae are pale green or yellowish green with pale siphunculi. Their antennal terminal process is usually less than seven times the length of last two segments of the rostrum. The third antennal segment bears 2-44 rhinaria with its longest hairs 26-48 µm (cf. Amphorophora gei which has the longest hairs on the third antennal segment 17-30 µm long). The siphunculi are slightly swollen on the apical part and 2.1 to 2.4 times the length of the cauda. The cauda is triangular. The body length of Amphorophora rubi apterae is 2.2-4.7 mm.

 

The large blackberry aphid does not host alternate. It feeds on the underside of leaves of blackberry (Rubus fruticosus agg.) and related Rubus species, but not on raspberry (Rubus idaei). Amphorophora rubi is found throughout Europe and has been introduced to New Zealand.

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Acknowledgements

We have made provisional identifications from high resolution photos of living specimens, along with host plant identity. In the great majority of cases, identifications have been confirmed by microscopic examination of preserved specimens. We have used the keys and species accounts of Blackman & Eastop (1994)  and Blackman & Eastop (2006)  supplemented with Blackman (1974) , Stroyan (1977) , Stroyan (1984) , Blackman & Eastop (1984) , Heie (1980-1995) , Dixon & Thieme (2007)  and Blackman (2010) . We fully acknowledge these authors as the source for the (summarized) taxonomic information we have presented. Any errors in identification or information are ours alone, and we would be very grateful for any corrections. For assistance on the terms used for aphid morphology we suggest the figure  provided by Blackman & Eastop (2006).

Useful weblinks 

References

  •  Blackman, R.L. & Eastop, V.F. (2006). Aphids on the world's herbaceous plants and shrubs. Vols 1 and 2. John Wiley & Sons.

  •  Heie, O.E. (1980-1995). The Aphidoidea, Hemiptera, of Fennoscandia and Denmark. (Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica) E.J. Brill, London

 

Identification requests

David Fenwick, 4 July 2013, [bramble aphid] Parasite

Haven't ID'd the aphid yet, but on bramble so may be obvious, but have just seen this aphid parasite on going through the images, thought you'd appreciate seeing it.

Image copyright www.aphotofauna.com  all rights reserved.

Bob, Influentialpoints:

  • Re aphid on bramble, it appears to be Amphorophora rubi. The mite is nice - we tend to get huge numbers of mites on some species, sometimes looking fairly 'mite-like' as yours, but others which appear smooth almost like eggs.

We've had a few mites on things here recently, one fly I had looked like it had a red tail until I zoomed in, it was carrying 5 mites; we've also had a few ichneumon spider parasites here. Found a mite on a willow aphid yesterday and managed to get as good an image as I could.

 


 

Nigel Gilligan, 17 March 2014, possible Phorodon humuli - Damson-Hop aphid

This may well be one for the bin. However, it does seem to have a few unusual details (at least from my viewpoint).

This one definitely has no associated plant, but was taken from somewhere in the garden & photo'd whilst in a plastic sample box. I assume it's a nymph.

It does look rather like the suggested species, and that is all I could find. What I think is a counter indicator is the fact that there are 2 darker stripes either side of the mid-line, not one in the middle and one either side. Also can't see from supplied photos if there are small black spots, which mine has.

The short blunt cauda seems right, and it does have siphunculi which seem right, curving slightly outward at the end. BUT, I also see that mine have a bulge towards the apex, which is not noted in the text. Unusual? It also has very fine tibia, and there are fine hooks on the feet. From a photo point of view, these are my most detailed photos ... let down by not having a plant.

We do have plums and damsons, but no hops! Seen 13/6/2012.

My thoughts here, as a lay person, are that it would be great if there were lists of unusual features that make a species easy to ID from the rest. Just like it becomes easy to ID familiar species, simply because your brain short-cuts the process by noting the one salient feature that this species has, and no other (or at least no other looking vaguely like this). Does that sound useful? (but no doubt horrendous to compile!)

Images copyright Nigel Gilligan, all rights reserved.

   

Bob, Influentialpoints:

  • The difficulty with creating lists of features as you suggest is that there will always be exceptions - whilst the 'experienced' brain is very good at dealing with such exceptions, the only way we have to formalise the process is to do a key.

    Re your aphid, the key characteristic is the swollen siphunculi - which makes it (probably) Amphorophora or Hyperomyzus.

    If you have lots of bramble in the garden, it's most likely Amphorophora rubi (Large blackberry aphid)

Yes, we have plenty of blackberries, in fact masses of other soft fruit too.

Yes, I think my suggestion would probably create more problems than it would solve. But I did create my own check list with craneflies, noting things like there was only one with triangular shapes on its wings, one had spots in the wing centres, etc. It gives a shortcut to check out if it really does correspond to that species, rather than ploughing through hundreds of photos (the keys are generally tricky when you don't have a specimen). Oh what fun it is!