Biology, images, analysis, design...
Aphids Find them How to ID AphidBlog
"It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important" (Sherlock Holmes)



Brachycaudus tragopogonis

Goatsbeard aphid

Identification & Distribution  Biology & Ecology 

Identification & Distribution:

Adult apterae of Brachycaudus tragopogonis are shining grey-brown to dark brown, although a dense colony appears black, The extent of dorsal abdominal sclerotization is variable, with the cross bands often divided spinally as well as intersegmentally into paired pleural patches. The siphunculi are 0.05-0.06 times as long as the body length and 1.2-1.5 times as long as the cauda. The cauda is helmet-shaped. The body length of Brachycaudus tragopogonis apterae is 1.4-2.3 mm.


Brachycaudus tragopogonis lives all year round on the stem and leaves of Tragopogon (goatsbeard) species with no host alternation. Oviparae and winged males appear in autumn. The species is found in southern Britain and over much of Europe, and has been introduced to South America.


Biology & Ecology:

We have only found this species once - on Tragopogon porrifolius (purple salsify) at Rye Harbour nature reserve in East Sussex.


Brachycaudus tragopogonis are usually attended by ants. Ozdemir (2008)  recorded Formica glauca, Plagiolepis pallescens and Lasius alienus attending Brachycaudus tragopogonis in Ankara Province in Turkey.


We especially thank Rye Harbour Nature Reserve  for their kind assistance.

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 


  •  Ozdemir, I. et al. (1997). Investigations of the associated between aphids and ants on wild plants in Ankara Province, Turkey. Mun. Ent. Zool. 3 (2), 606-613. Full text