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Aphis ballotae

Horehound aphid

On this page: Identification & Distribution  Biology & Ecology 

Identification & Distribution:

Apterae of Aphis ballotae are dark grey-blue to mottled green. Their dorsum is membranous, sometimes with a small postsiphuncular sclerite. The siphunculi are black, and 1.33-1.95 times as long as the dark finger-shaped cauda.. The body length is 1.0-2.0 mm. Aphis ballotae is a member of the Aphis frangulae  complex, difficult to distinguish from other members except by biology and host plant.

The alate Aphis ballotae has rather large marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites, short bars across tergites 7-8 and usually a conspicuous rather squarish sclerite on tergite 6 between the siphunculi.

Aphis ballotae lives on the stems and undersides of leaves of Ballota spp. especially Ballota nigra (horehound) causing slight downward leaf-curl in early summer. It does not host alternate. Sexual forms occur in autumn and the males are alate. The horehound aphid is found throughout Europe (except Scandinavia), and eastward to Crimea, Iran and Turkey.

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).

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