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Genus Aulacorthum

Aulacorthum aphids

On this page: Genus Aulacorthum  Aulacorthum solani 

Genus Aulacorthum [Macrosiphini]

The apterae are medium sized and may be whitish, yellowish, green, pinkish-red or brown, often with a patch of different colour at the base of each siphunculus. The dorsum is sclerotic and shiny. In the genus Neomyzus (formerly considered a sub-genus) the dorsum has a pigmented pattern. The antennae are usually longer than the body and the head is distinctly spinulose. The antennal tubercles are well developed with near parallel steep-sided inner face (cf. Neomyzus where they are converging). The siphuncul are rather long, nearly cylindrical, with a very marked apical flange, and a few rows of flat hexagonal cells under the flange. The cauda is rather short and tongue-shaped.

There are 48 species of Aulacorthum aphids, on a great variety of hosts. Most do not host alternate and are monophagous with a sexual stage in their life cycle. A few are highly polyphagous, often with no sexual stage in their life cycles. Some of these polyphagous species are important crop pests. They are not ant attended.


Aulacorthum solani (Glasshouse - potato aphid, Foxglove aphid)

Aulacorthum solani apterae are pear shaped and shiny greenish yellow, usually with a bright green or rust coloured patch at the base of each siphunculus. Their antennae have darkened joints and are slightly longer than the body. Their siphunculi are pale with dark tips, long, slender, tapered and distinctly flanged. The body length of Aulacorthum solani apterae is 1.5-3.0 mm. The winged forms have darker antennae, legs and siphunculi and have a variably developed pattern of tranverse dark bars on the dorsal abdomen.

In temperate climates most of their population overwinters as nymphs or apterae, especially on potato sprouts and on many glasshouse plants and wild species such as foxglove (Digitalis). As a result, Aulacorthum solani is often one of the first aphid species to find on young plants in the spring. The high toxicity of the saliva of the glasshouse - potato aphid may produce deformation and discoloration of leaves being fed upon. This results in direct feeding damage to potatoes and peppers. Aulacorthum solani can also be a vector of about 40 plant viruses, but its relatively poor virus transmission efficiency makes it unimportant as a virus vector in the field. Its importance is much greater in glasshouses. Its distribution is virtually cosmopolitan.

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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 


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

  •  Heie, O.E. (1980-1995). The Aphidoidea, Hemiptera, of Fennoscandia and Denmark. (Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica) E.J. Brill, London.