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Aphis commensalis

Waxy buckthorn aphid

Identification & Distribution 

Identification & Distribution:

Adult apterae of Aphis commensalis are darkish grey-green with a heavy greyish wax coating (see first picture below). The abdominal dorsum has no pigmented sclerites except for faint narrow bands across tergites 7-8. Small marginal tubercles are present on the first and seventh abdominal tergites. Hairs on the tibiae are long and fine, the longest on the hind tibia being 1.7-2.4 times the least width of the tibia. The dusky siphunculi are rather short being only 0.9-1.2 times as long as the cauda. The cauda is short and blunt. Body length of the adult Aphis commensalis aptera is 0.9-1.7 mm.

 

Images copyright Dr László Érsek, all rights reserved.

The waxy buckthorn aphid lives on purging buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica). Early generations cause leaf curl galls on the young foliage of its host as shown in the second picture above. From midsummer onwards they are found in abandoned leaf-edge fold galls of the psyllid Trichochermes walkeri. Apterous males and oviparae occur in October, and eggs are laid within the psyllid gall. Aphis commensalis is a rare species in Britain, known only from Cambridgeshire and Warwickshire. Elsewhere in Europe it is found in Germany, Poland, Austria and Russia.

Acknowledgements

We especially thank Dr László Érsek for the images shown above.

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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