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Genus Aploneura

Mealy root aphids

Species Overview: Aploneura   Aploneura lentisci 

Aploneura [Fordini]

Aploneura are medium sized aphids. The apterae have very short 4- or 5-segmented antennae. Unlike most root aphids, Aploneura produce copious white wax and probably because of this are not attended by ants. The alatae have very short 6-segmented antennae, the third and fourth segments of which each bear bear a single large secondary rhinaria on the distal half. The wings of the alate are held flat against the abdomen when at rest.

There are only three species in the genus Aploneura. They host alternate betweeen galls on Pistacia and the roots of grasses and vines.

 

Aploneura lentisci (Mealy grass root aphid)

Adult Aploneura lentisci apterae are pale yellow with a darker head. The body is spindle shaped, and is covered with fine white wax which is flocculent (loosely-clumped) at the posterior end. The antennae and legs are very short. The aptera body is 1.1-3.0 mm long.

 

In the Mediterranean region the mealy grass root aphid host alternates from mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus) to the roots of numerous species of grasses (Poaceae), and occasionally of other plants such as Ranunculus and Veronica. In other parts of its distribution, it remains all year on the roots of grasses, despite producing large numbers of winged sexual forms in autumn. Aploneura lentisci is found over most of southern, western and central Europe, the Middle East, central Asia, parts of Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina.

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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 sp 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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References

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