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Genus Brevicoryne

Mealy cabbage aphids

On this page: Genus Brevicoryne  Brevicoryne brassicae 

Genus Brevicoryne [Macrosiphini]

Medium sized aphids that are grey or green with a dark head. Adult viviparae may be winged or wingless. The antennal tubercles are not developed. The body is covered with greyish-white mealy wax. The antennae are usually about half as long as body. The siphunculi are dusky or dark, barrel shaped and usually somewhat shorter than the cauda.

There are about 9 species mainly feeding on different species of the cabbage family (Brassicaceae) but with some species on other plants such as goosefoot (Chenopodium: Amaranthaceae) and honeysuckle (Caprifoliaceae). They do not host alternate, but generally retain a sexual stage in the life cycle, with eggs produced to overwinter. They are not attended by ants. One species is an important pest of Brassica crops.


Brevicoryne brassicae (Mealy cabbage aphid)

The apterae are green and wax-powdered. The head, tips of the antennae and the legs are dark. Some abdominal segments have small sclerites and there are also intersegmental muscle sclerites. The siphunculi are thick and very short, 0.06-0.07 times the body length. and 0.8-1.0 times the length of the cauda. The cauda is triangular and broad. The body length of apterae is 1.9-2.7 mm. The apterae shown below left include one recently moulted specimen which has not yet developed its wax coating. The alate (below right) has marginal sclerites and dorsal cross bands and is with its group of offspring.


The mealy cabbage aphid does not host alternate but spends its entire life cycle on cabbage (Brassica oleraceae) or other brassicas. In cold climates it overwinters as eggs, but where winters are mild it overwinters parthenogenetically.


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.