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Genus Crypturaphis

Italian alder aphids

On this page: Genus Crypturaphis  Crypturaphis grassi 

Genus Crypturaphis [Calaphidini]

Wingless females are dorsoventrally flattened and have peculiar projections on the head and prothorax. The antennae are shorter than the body. The apterae resemble coccids rather than aphids. The winged alate (shown here) has a more typical 'aphid appearance'.

This genus has only one species, which lives on the leaves of Italian alder (Alnus cordata). It has a sexual stage in its life cycle, but does not host alternate. It is not attended by ants.


Crypturaphis grassi (Italian alder aphid)

The apterae are brownish and dorso-ventrally flattened. The body length of apterae is 2.3-3.2 mm. Winged forms have a black head and thoracic lobes, a paler prothorax, and an ill-defined and variably developed brown patch across abdominal tergites 5-6. The body length of alates is 2.2-3.0 mm. Immature stages are green.


Italian alder aphids live dispersed along veins on both upper and lower leaf surfaces of Italian alder (Alnus cordata), and are apparently specific to this host. Oviparae and males occur in October-November, but aphids may overwinter viviparously. The species is native to southern Italy and Corsica, but was first recorded in the UK in 1998, and has since spread widely in southern England and Wales.


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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