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)



Cinara costata

Mealy Spruce Aphid

On this page: Identification & Distribution  Biology & Ecology  Damage & Control 

Identification & Distribution:

Cinara costata apterae are wax-covered, light brown or yellow-brown, sometimes with a dull metallic golden sheen, and with a pair of wax-covered dark bottle-green dorsal longitudinal stripes which sometimes coalesce at about the level of the siphunculi. The prominent siphuncular cones are dark brown and usually spaced three or more diameters apart. The body length is 2.7-3.8 mm. Cinara costata alatae have characteristically pigmented forewings with the medial vein only once-branched.

We are awaiting an image of this species...

The mealy spruce aphid forms small colonies on smaller woody twigs on lower branches of Spruces (Picea spp.). The twigs also receive a deposit of mealy wax and the aphids are not usually attended by ants. Oviparae and males occur in the northern hemisphere in October. Cinara costata occurs in Europe, east Asia, Australia, Greenland, Canada and USA.


Biology & Ecology:

Núñez-Pérez & Tizado (1996)  recorded it as living on the oldest branches or on the trunk when the tree is young and forming dense floury looking colonies on branches because of its wax covering. Although Cinara costata produces abundant honeydew, it is not generally ant-attended unlike most Cinara species . Binazzi & Scheurer (2009)  give the species as independent from ant attendance.


Damage and control

Delfino and Binazzi (2002)  give it as one of many aphid species causing economic damage to conifers in Argentina. Larsson & Björkmanan (1993)  found there was no significant difference in the build-up of mealy spruce aphid densities between drought-stressed and unstressed spruce trees. This is in contrast to most other stress experiments which have demonstrated enhanced performance of phloem-feeding insects on drought stressed trees.


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 


  •  Binazzi, A. & Scheurer, S. (2009). Atlas of the honeydew producing conifer aphids of Europe. Aracne. 132 pp. Introduction 

  •  Delfino, M.A. & Binazzi, A. (2002). Áfidos de coníferos en la Argentina (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Rev. Soc. Entomol. Argent. 61 (3-4), 27-36.

  •  Larsson, S. & Björkmanan, C. (1993). Performance of chewing and phloem-feeding insects on stressed trees. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research 8 (1-4), 550-559. Abstract 

  •  Núñez-Pérez, E. & Tizado, E.J. (1996). Conifer aphids (Homoptera: Aphididae) and some natural enemies in the León province (Spain). Boln. Asoc. esp. Ent 20 (1-2), 85 - 93. Full text