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Aphids on pine

Blackman & Eastop list about 170 species of aphids  as feeding on pines worldwide, and provides formal identification keys for aphids on Pinus. At least 18 of these species occur in Britain on Scots pine and/or Corsican pine, as well as on a variety of less commonly planted pines.

The species listed below are roughly in order of how often we found them. Assistance on identifying the two species of pine is given below. 

 

Schizolachnus pineti (Waxy grey pine needle aphid)

The apterae are dark greyish-green covered in wax meal giving a light bluish-grey appearance. The picture (below first) shows both a recently moulted specimen without wax coat and a mature individual with wax cover. The terminal process of antennal segment six is very short giving a process to base ratio of less than 0.25. The hind tibia is pale or dark and very densely hairy. The body length of apterae is 1.2-2.5 mm. The picture below second shows the similarly wax covered winged vivipara.

 

The waxy grey pine needle aphid is found on numerous pine species (Pinus) especially on young trees, forming dense colonies in rows along the previous year's needles. Schizolachnus pineti is common and widespread in Europe and parts of Asia and introduced to North America.

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Eulachnus rileyi (Active grey pine needle aphid)

Wingless female viviparae are very elongate spindle-shaped, and vary in colour from dark olive green to orange-brown or grey. They have prominent blackish setae on the dorsum. Older specimens become covered in bluish-grey wax sometimes with tufts of wax filaments posteriorly. The hind pair of legs and other pairs to a variable extent are dark brown to black. The siphuncular cones are reduced to small blackish rings. The body length of apterae is 2.3-3.0 mm. Winged viviparae are similar to apterae, but with the head and thorax darker, and less prominent setae on the abdomen.

The active grey pine needle aphid can be found feeding on the needles of many species of pines (Pinus spp.). In Europe it occurs more commonly on European black pine (Pinus nigra) and mountain pine (Pinus mugo) than on Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) They are cryptic when feeding, but become very active when disturbed. The species is found in Europe, the Mediterranean area and south west Asia and has been introduced into Africa south of the equator and America.

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Eulachnus agilis (Spotted green pine needle aphid)

Apterae are spindle-shaped, bright green with numerous dark spots and no wax. They are small with a body length of only 1.6-2.3 mm. The hind legs often have mottled pigmentation.

Found usually feeding on old needles on many Pines (Pinus spp.), but especially common on Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris). Occurs throughout Europe, and parts of Asia and introduced to North America. Does not host alternate.

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Pineus pini (Pine woolly aphid, Scots pine adelgid))

The apterous female (the 'sisten') is dark brown to dark red, almost spherical and covered in white wax wool. The head and prothorax are heavily chitinized. The antennae are 3-segmented. The abdomen has four distinct pairs of spiracles and an ovipositor. The body length of the wingless form is 1.0-1.2 mm. The winged female is mainly reddish grey with 5-segmented antennae. The forewings are hyaline and the veins are tinged with red. The body length of the winged form is 1.0-1.2 mm.

The pine woolly aphid has lost host alternation and sexual reproduction and remains all year on pine (Pinus sylvestris and Pinus mugo). There is an overwintering generation on the twigs and two or more overlapping generations attacking the current year's shoots. Eggs are laid in abundant wax-wool. The second of the summer generations in May-June includes winged forms which disperse to other pine trees. Young seedling pines are commonly infected by first instar crawlers dispersed by wind.

 

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Cinara pinea (Large pine aphid)

Apterae of Cinara pinea are shiny orange-brown early in the year and grey or dark brown later on. The body is finely spotted with black and dusted with wax especially along the dorsal midline and laterally. The patches of wax are especially prominent on the dorsum of the alate. Siphuncular cones are small to medium sized and reddish-brown or dark brown. The body size of the large pine aphid is unusually large at 3.1-5.2 mm.

 

The first picture above shows an adult aptera of Cinara pinea in June. It has the characteristic orange brown colouration of early summer. The second picture shows an alate. It has pronounced wax spots along the centre line of the dorsum, and the size and number of the dorsal scleroites are often reduced.

Cinara pinea are found on young trees and new shoots of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) although sometimes on other pine species including Corsican pine (Pinus nigra) in dry areas. Oviparae and males can be found in October. They are found throughout Europe and much of Asia and have been introduced to North America.

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Cinara pini (Scots pine aphid)

Apterae of Cinara pini are grey or greyish-green with black markings, and with either a slight bronze iridescence or a dusting of grey wax. The abdomen is wax powdered along the dorsal midline, along the segmental borders and laterally. The siphuncular cones are black and prominent. The body length is 1.9-3.7 mm (fundatrices larger).

 

The first picture shows an aptera and nymph of Cinara pini on Scots pine. The aptera is greyish-green with black markings, and has a slight bronzy iridescence. The wax powder along the dorsal midline is clearly shown. The ventral surfaces are mealy grey. Immatures are more greenish, have less patterning and have no mealy deposit. The alate viviparous female (see second picture) has more prominent wax deposits, and is generally more pigmented than the aptera (although not in the specimen below).

Cinara pini is found on young shoots of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) in spring, and later on the undersides of older foliated twigs or branches. The species overwinters as eggs. The oviparae (egg laying females) and males can be found in October. Cinara pini is found throughout Europe, also in Siberia and Japan, and introduced to North America.

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Cinara acutirostris (Corsican pine aphid)

Cinara acutirostris apterae are dark brown to pale bronze, with a pattern of dark markings and wax dust. The siphuncular cones are large, prominent and black. The body length is 2.6-3.6 mm.

 

The first image above shows an adult aptera Cinara acutirostris on a branch of Corsican pine in amongst the attendant ants. It has signs of the characteristic bronzy iridescence of the adult. The second image shows two alates (winged forms) of Cinara acutirostris. The alates are similar to the apterae, but have predominantly dark legs with pale areas closest to the body. The appearance of the species is very similar to Cinara pini and in the past we provisionally assigned those found on Corsican Pine to Cinara acutirostris, and those found on Scots Pine to Cinara pini. Our recent microscopic examinations suggest this was justified.

Found on twigs of Corsican Pine (Pinus nigra) and Stone Pine (Pinus pinea). Oviparae and males can be found in October, and the species overwinters as eggs laid on the needles. Found in western, southern and central Europe, China, and introduced to Argentina. It is commonly classed as an invasive species because of its introduction to countries along with Corsican Pine.

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Cinara brauni (Corsican pine shoot aphid)

Cinara brauni apterae are golden brown with a dusting of wax powder which contrasts with an extensive shiny sclerotized dark patch on abdominal tergites 5-7 encompassing the siphunculi. Cinara brauni is a polymorphic species with regard to extension and general aspect of the sclerotization of the abdominal tergites 5-7 throughout the year.

 

This image above shows a Cinara brauni aptera feeding at the growing tip of Corsican pine. The black shiny patch at the end of the abdomen contrasting with the whitish wax powder is diagnostic.

It is found on current years growth and one-year-old twigs of Corsican pine (Pinus nigra). The egg-laying forms (oviparae) differ from viviparae in the presence of a pericaudal ring of wax and occur in autumn along with alate males. Formerly considered rare, Cinara brauni has been (accidentally) introduced into several countries through importation of Corsican pines, and is now considered an invasive species.

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Eulachnus brevipilosus (Light green pine needle aphid)

Apterae of Eulachnus brevipilosus are spindle-shaped and slender with a body length of 1.4-2.2 mm. They are light green with numerous faint spots and no wax. The antennae are about 0.4-0.5 times body length - markedly longer than in the superficially similar Essigella. The legs are rather pale.

This first image shows an adult light green pine needle aphid on a pine needle. The second image shows a micrograph of Eulachnus brevipilosus in alcohol.

 

The light green pine needle aphid may be found feeding on needles on pines , especially on Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and stone pine (Pinus mugo). It does not host alternate. It is unclear whether sexual morphs are produced or they overwinter as viviparae. It occurs throughout Europe and parts of Asia, and has been introduced to North America and New Zealand.

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Schizolachnus obscurus (Waxy brown pine needle aphid)

The apterae are brownish covered in greyish white wax. The hind tibia is dark and less densely hairy than in Schizolachnus pineti. The body length of apterae is 1.9-2.7 mm.

 

The waxy brown pine needle aphid is mainly found on the needles of European Black Pine (Pinus nigra) although it has also been found on other Pine species within Europe. We have found it recently on Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) in UK. Schizolachnus obscurus is found in Europe east to Turkey and may well occur elsewhere.

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Essigella californica (Monterey pine needle aphid)

The apterae are spindle-shaped and have very short 5-segmented antennae (distinguishes Essigella from Eulachnus species) The thorax is grey-green and the abdomen lime green, with or without brown dorsal spots. The legs are variably pigmented, often mainly pale but with the tibiae darker.

 

The Monterey pine aphid is native to North America, from British Columbia south to Mexico. In recent years it has been introduced into Europe (France and Spain) and we now have two sightings in Britain (see pictures above). We found it on several Montezuma pines (one of its natural hosts in America) growing in the Bedgebury Pinetum in East Sussex, UK. It has also been found in Australia, New Zealand and Brazil.

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Species of pine

We cover two species of pine, Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and Corsican pine (Pinus nigra var maritima). Scots pine is native to Britain and has a characteristic rusty brown or orange coloured bark, especially noticeable on the upper parts of the trunk. The needles are bluish grey and about 4-7 cm long.

Corican pine has greyish-pink to greyish-black bark. The needles are grey green and markedly longer (8-14 cm) than those of Scots pine. They also have a distinctive twist so they appear wavy (see first picture below).

 

The Corsican pine was introduced to the UK in the late 18th century and widely planted in forests, parks and gardens. Its susceptibility to red band needle blight (see second picture above) makes its future as a timber tree uncertain.

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. Aphids on the world's plants An online identification and information guide. Full text 

  •  Carter, C.R. & Maslen, N.R. (1982). Conifer Lachnids. Forestry Commission Bulletin No. 58, 75pp.

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