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Stalk-eyed sedge aphidOn this page: Identification & Distribution Biology & Ecology Other aphids on the same host
Identification & Distribution
Adult apterae of Caricosipha paniculatae (see pictures below) are yellowish or reddish with brown sclerotic patches or sometimes completely black dorsally. The antennae, legs, and siphunculi are all pale, as are the eye stalks which bear the prominent compound eyes. The hairs on antennal segment III are up to about 5 times as long as the basal diameter of that segment. The body is flattened and pear-shaped, broadest about the level of abdominal tergite 4 - and the head and pronotum are fused, as are abdominal tergites l-7. The body has many long, black, pointed hairs. The siphunculi are palish, smooth, truncate conical or stump-shaped. The cauda is slightly knobbed.
Caricosipha paniculatae feeds on sedges (Carex sp.), especially Carex paniculata. There is no host alternation. This species is found throughout Europe.
Biology & Ecology
Stalk-eyed sedge aphids live in dense colonies on the upperside of leaves. If disturbed, they run about very fast until the disturbance ceases. This is an unusual predator escape strategy for an aphid - crypsis, or aposematism, or just dropping off the plant are more common approaches.
Image copyright Stéphane Claerebout, all rights reserved.
Their escape strategy may explain the extraordinary stalked eyes. Extending the eye away from the body gives the eye a better field of vision. This will improve the speed at which an aphid will be able to detect a predator - and start running!
Other aphids on same host:
Blackman & Eastop list 5 species of aphid as feeding on greater tussock-sedge (Carex paniculata) worldwide, and provide formal identification keys.
Of those aphid species, Baker (2015) lists all 5 as occurring in Britain: Allaphis producta, Caricosipha paniculatae, Ceruraphis eriophori, Schizaphis caricis and Vesiculaphis theobaldi.