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Identification & Distribution:

Adult apterae of Aphis picridis are bright yellow with black siphunculi. The antennal terminal process is more than 2.1 times as long as the base of that segment, and there are no rhinaria on the third or fourth antennal segments. The antennal tubercles are weakly developed and there are marginal tubercles on abdominal tergites 1 and 7. The cauda is tongue shaped. The body length of adult Aphis picridis apterae is 1.1-1.8 mm.

Micrograph of clarified mount  copyright Roger Blackman, all rights reserved.

The rostrum is unusually long, 0.35-0.38 times the body length, and reaches back beyond the hind coxae. This can be seen clearly in the second of the preserved specimens below. The alatae of Aphis picridis (second picture above) are pale green.

Aphis picridis is found on the rosette leaves and root collar of oxtongues (Picris spp.) and brighteyes (Reichardia spp.) It does not host alternate. It produces sexual forms in the autumn and overwinters as eggs. It has been recorded from Germany, Poland, Italy, Corsica, Spain and Portugal - but not, so far, from Britain.

 

Biology & Ecology:

Prieto et al. (2004)   recently added Spain and Portugal to the known distribution of this species.

 

Other aphids on same host:

Blackman & Eastop list 16 species of aphid  as feeding on bristly oxtongue (Picris echioides = Helminthotheca echioides) worldwide, and provide formal identification keys. Of those aphid species, Baker (2015)  lists 14 as occurring in Britain: Brachycaudus helichrysi,  Hyperomyzus lactucae,  Hyperomyzus picridis,  Macrosiphum euphorbiae,  Myzus ornatus,  Myzus persicae,  Nasonovia ribisnigri,  Protaphis terricola,  Trama caudata, Trama maritima, Trama troglodytes,  Uroleucon picridis,  and Uroleucon sonchi. 

Acknowledgements

Our particular thanks to Roger Blackman for help identifying this species, and for the image of a clarified mount.

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

  •  Boer, P. & Noordijk, J. (1997). Myrmica schenckioides nov. sp., a new socially parasitic ant species (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Entomologische Berichten 65(4), 120-123.  Full text 

  •  Prieto, F.G. et al. (2004). Updated check-list of Iberian-Balearic Aphidini (Hemiptera, Aphididae). Graellsia 60(2), 197-214. Full text