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Aploneura lentisci

Mealy grass root aphid

On this page: Identification & Distribution  Other aphids on the same host 

Identification & Distribution:

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.

The rhinarium on antennal segment VI has its long axis along the segment (this distinguishes Aploneura lentisci from Aploneura ampelina in which the rhinarium has its long axis across the segment).

The images below show an adult aptera, dorsal and ventral, in alcohol.

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.


Other aphids on same host:

Primary host:

Blackman & Eastop list 3 species of aphid  as feeding on Chios mastic (Pistacia lentiscus) worldwide, and provide formal identification keys.

Of those aphid species, Baker (2015)  lists 2 as occurring in Britain: Aploneura lentisci, and Forda marginata. 

Secondary hosts:

Paul (1977)  found at least 16 aphid species recorded on grass roots in Britain: Anoecia corni,  Anoecia furcata (= A. nemoralis), Anoecia major, Anoecia (Paranoecia) pskovica Mordvilko, Anoecia vagans (= Anoecia willcocksi), Anoecia zirnitsi, Aploneura lentisci, Baizongia pistaceae (=Pemphigus cornicularius), Forda formicaria,  Forda marginata, Geioca setulosa, Geioca utricularia, Paracletus cimiciformis, Rhopalosiphum insertum,  Smynthurodes betae  and Tetroneura ulmi. 


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 


  • Paul, R.G. (1977). Aspects of the biology and taxonomy of British myrmecophilous root aphids. PhD thesis. Imperial College, London. Full text