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Capitophorus hippophaes

Polygonum aphid, Bistort aphid

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

Identification & Distribution:

Apterae of Capitophorus hippophaes on the secondary host (shown below) are pale greenish to yellowish white, occasionally with longitudinal rows of green spots. The antennae are 0.8-1.2 times the length of the body. Their siphunculi are 2.0-2.4 times the length of the cauda, with the distal two thirds to one half slightly swollen. The cauda has a cylindrical basal part and a triangular, pointed distal part. Capitophorus hippophaes body length is 1.7-2.4 mm. Apterae in spring colonies on the primary host are pale green, slender, with a faint pattern of green spots.

Capitophorus hippophaes fundatrices are broadly oval, greenish with reddish spots, and their antennae are dark, 5-segmented and have a short processus terminalis. Alates are greyish-green with a black head and thorax, dark antennae, legs and siphunculi and a large quadrate dark green patch on the dorsal abdomen.

The clarified slide mounts below are of adult viviparous female Capitophorus hippophaes : wingless from the secondary host, and winged.

Micrographs of clarified mounts  by permission of Roger Blackman, copyright AWP  all rights reserved.

Capitophorus hippophaes host alternates: The primary hosts are various species of Hippophae (sea buckthorn) and Elaeagnus (oleaster). The secondary hosts are various Polygonum and Persicaria species. Aphids live on the undersides of the leaves. Capitophorus hippophaes occurs in Europe, north Africa, south-west Asia, and has been introduced into North America. A subspecies, Capitophorus hippophaes javanicus occurs on Polygonaceae in south-east Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and also in California, USA.


Other aphids on same host:

Blackman & Eastop list 10 species of aphid  as feeding on oleaster (Elaeagnus species) and/or sea buckthorns (Hippophae species) worldwide, and provide formal identification keys.

Of those aphid species, Baker (2015)  lists 4 as occurring in Britain: Capitophorus hippophaes, Capitophorus elaeagni,  Capitophorus similis  and Capitophorus pakansus.


Our particular thanks to Roger Blackman for images of his clarified slide mounts.

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).

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