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Genus Dysaphis [Macrosiphini]

Identification:: On the primary host they are medium-sized, plump-bodied aphids, greenish, bluish or pinkish grey in colour and covered in wax meal. On the secondary host they are oval in shape with less wax. The adult viviparae may be winged or wingless. Characteristic features are the presence of spinal tubercles on head and posterior abdominal segments and short to moderate length tubular siphunculi. The cauda is short and often helmet-shaped.

A Palaearctic genus of about 110 species. Most species retain a sexual stage in the life cycle and host alternate. Spring colonies distort and discolour the leaves of apple and related trees (Maloideae), before migrating to umbellifers (Apiaceae) and other families. Colonies are almost always attended by ants. Several species are important pests of fruit trees


Dysaphis angelicae (Hawthorn - angelica aphid)

Apterae on the secondary host (see picture) are greyish green with reddish suffusion around the siphunculi and some white pulverulence. The antennae are short - about 0.3 times the body length. The siphunculi are also quite short at 0.083-0.12 times the body length, but they are more than twice their basal widths. Fundatrices on the primary host (see below) cannot be distinguished from others of the Dysaphis crataegi species group.

The hawthorn - angelica aphid host alternates between hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) as the primary host and angelica (Angelica sylvestris) as the secondary host. On the primary host it induces a cherry-red leaf gall. All females of the second generation are winged and migrate. On the secondary host it forms colonies on the lower leaf bases. Occurs throughout much of Europe.

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Dysaphis aucupariae (Wild service aphid)

Apterae of Dysaphis aucupariae on their primary host are greyish green or pinkish yellow with distinctive brownish to reddish areas at siphuncular bases (see first picture below). The head, antennae (except segment III), legs, siphunculi and cauda are all dark. Their antennae are about 0.6 to 0.7 times the body length. The Dysaphis aucupariae dorsum is membranous with cross bars on the thorax and abdominal tergites VI and VIII only, and smaller sclerites on other segments. The siphunculi are 2.5 to 3.1 times the length of the triangular cauda. Their body length is 2.2-2.6 mm. Older specimens are heavily wax-powdered (see second picture below). Dysaphis aucupariae apterae on the secondary host are pinkish ochreous with reddish or brownish areas at the siphuncular bases.


Guest images copyright Dr Jula Werres, INRES,  all rights reserved

The alate viviparous female from the primary host has the abdomen ochreous to greenish-yellow with a black trapeziform dorsal patch on tergites III-V and spinal cross bands on tergites I and II. The Dysaphis aucupariae alate from the secondary host is reddish ochreous with a blackish sclerotic pattern.

Dysaphis aucupariae host alternates.The spring generations of Dysaphis aucupariae live in reddish to yellowish rolled or twisted pseudogalls on the leaves of Sorbus torminalis (wild service tree). The secondary hosts are various plantain species (Plantago lanceolata, Plantago media, Plantago major) where they live in the grooves between the veins on the undersides of the leaves. They are often attended by ants. Dysaphis aucupariae is found in Europe east to Crimea and the Caucasus and the Azores. It has (presumably) been introduced to Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Washington, USA.

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Dysaphis bonomii (Parsnip mealy gall aphid)

Apterae of Dysaphis bonomii are pale to dull greyish green and are wax-dusted. The dorsal abdomen has complete dark cross bands on many or all of abdominal tergites 1-8. Dysaphis bonomii alate viviparous female (see second image above) also has clearly marked black dorsal bands.


The siphunculi of Dysaphis bonomii are quite long and slender, 4 times or more longer than their basal diameters. The cauda is helmet shaped, a little shorter than its basal width in dorsal view . The body length of Dysaphis bonomii aptera is 1.2-2.5 mm.

The parsnip mealy gall aphid feeds on the basal parts of wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa), and is attended by ants. It does not host alternate. Apterous males and oviparae occur in the autumn. Dysaphis bonomii has been found in a few European countries, namely (southern England, Sweden, Germany, Austria and Italy). They are monoecious holocyclic with apterous males.

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Dysaphis crataegi sp. group (Hawthorn - umbellifer aphids)

On the primary host Dysaphis crataegi fundatrices are greenish grey and wax powdered. Their antennae are short at about 0.3 times the body length. The terminal process is 1.3-2.0 times the base of the last antennal segment. Dysaphis crataegi siphunculi are quite short, about 0.08-0.09 times the body length and 1.4-1.8 times the cauda. The body length of the fundatrix is 1.7-2.3 mm. The various species on the primary host can only be differentiated by examining the spring migrant alatae.

The hawthorn-umbellifer aphids comprise a complex of closely related subspecies. They all have hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) as the primary host where they cause deep cherry-red curled-leaf galls in spring and migrate to umbellifers (Apiaceae) in summer. In western Europe Dysaphis crataegi crataegi migrates to wild carrot (Daucus carota), Dysaphis crataegi kunzei migrates to wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) and Dysaphis crataegi aethusae migrates to fools parsley (Aethusa cynapium) and hedge parsley (Torilis spp.). There are two further subspecies in Asia. The group is closely related to other hawthorn-feeding host alternating species including Dysaphis angelicae and Dysaphis ranunculi.


Dysaphis gallica (Ivy-leaved toadflax aphid)

The aptera of Dysaphis gallica has been described variously as 'leaden coloured' and 'dark mottled blackish green, usually with a reddish tinge at bases of siphunculi'. The reddish tinge is more apparent in fourth instar nymphs (see below). The head has quite prominent antennal tubercles and a scabrous median frontal tubercle The siphunculi are dark at least towards the apices and are 2.4 to 3.3 times the length of the short, helmet-shaped cauda. The body length is 1.2-1.6 mm.


The alate has 27-41 secondary rhinaria on the third antennal segment, 16-35 on the fourth antennal segment and 0-8 on the fifth antennal segment.

The aphid has mostly been found on the secondary hosts - various members of the Scrophulariaceae, namely Antirrhinum majus (common snapdragon), Cymbalaria muralis (ivy-leaved toadflax) and Veronica (eyebright). The primary host appears to be apple (Malus following its discovery on that host in Pakistan. The species has been recorded on its secondary hosts in England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Sicily and Israel.

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Dysaphis lappae (Burdock mealy root aphid)

Adult apterae of Dysaphis lappae are dirty olive greenish to brownish, sometimes with a purple tinge. Older adults may have yellowish margins to the abdomen. The rostrum reaches behind the hind coxae. There are rather large marginal tubercles on the prothorax and abdominal segments I-V. The siphunculi are about 1.5-2.0 times the length of the cauda. The body length of female adult apterous Dysaphis lappae is 1.7-2.5 mm.


The alate is pinkish grey, slightly wax powdered with a rather extensive dark dorsal patch. The alate has 37-55 secondary rhinaria on the third antennal segment, 9-19 on the fourth segment and 0-1 on the fifth segment. Dysaphis lappae nymphs are pinkish grey.

There are three subspecies with different hosts:

  • Dysaphis lappae lappae feeding on Arctium species.
  • Dysaphis lappae cirsii feeding on Cirsium arvense.
  • Dysaphis cynarae feeding on Cynara.

The burdock mealy root aphid lives on the basal parts of stems, root collar and roots of burdock species (Arctium minus, Arctium lappa and Arctium tomentosum ). Sexual forms are found in autumn. It is usually attended by ants. Dysaphis lappae is found in Britain, most of Europe, Transcaucasia, Central Asia, Western Siberia, parts of North Africa and introduced to Brazil.

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Dysaphis newskyi (Hogweed mealy root aphid)

Adult apterae of Dysaphis newskyi are pinkish to lilac grey and wax dusted. Hairs on the third antennal segment are maximally 27-56 μm long, distinctly longer and more acute than those on abdominal tergite 3. The antennae always have secondary rhinaria (12-55 on segment III, 0-20 on IV and 0-3 on V). This is a good distinguishing character from Dysaphis lauberti which only has secondary rhinaria in alatiform apterae with dark cross bands on abdominal tergites 1-4. The siphunculi are 1.2 - 2.6 times the length of the cauda. The body length of Dysaphis newskyi apterae is 1-5-2.7 mm.


Abdominal tergite 7 almost always has a pair of marginal tubercles.

Dysaphis newskyi does not host alternate, but lives all year round on hogweed (Heracleum spp.). It can be found in ant-attended colonies on the basal leaf sheaths and root collar of its host. The species has been found in Britain, Austria and Italy and more recently in Poland and Finland.

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Dysaphis plantaginea (Rosy apple aphid)

A medium-sized globe-shaped aphid which is purplish-olive-green to mauve and covered with a whitish wax pubescence (below first). The antennae of apterae are at least as long as distance from the frons to the base of the siphunculi. The aptera is without pigmentation on the abdominal tergites anterior to the siphunculi. The siphunculi are quite long compared to other Dysaphis species, blackish brown and tapered with flanged tips. The cauda is dark, short and triangular. The body length of the aptera is 2.1-2.6 mm. Colonies are often attended by ants (below second).


The rosy apple aphid host alternates from apple (Malus spp.) where it forms yellowish crumpled leaf galls to plantain (Plantago) where it forms colonies along the veins on the undersides of the leaves. Aphids remain on apple until mid-summer by which time attacked shoots are stunted and twisted. Fruits from infested shoots are small and malformed. The species occurs in Europe, Africa, much of Asia and North and South America.

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Dysaphis pyri (Pear-bedstraw aphid)

Adult apterae of Dysaphis pyri are medium to rather large globe-shaped, brownish-red to dark brown aphids. They are thickly coated with wax meal. The antennae are pale yellow near the base, but darker towards the apex. The first 5 abdominal tergites have a double row of small dark spots. Hemispherical marginal tubercles are usually present only on abdominal tergites 1-5. The siphunculi are black and perpendicular to the body. They are 3.4-4.1 times their diameter at midpoint, and longer than the cone-shaped cauda (cauda is visible in the first image above). The adult aptera has a body length of 2.1-3.2 mm. Immature Dysaphis pyri are a pale yellowish brown, with reddish suffusion around the bases of their siphunculi.


Spring migrant alates have the abdomen brownish-red with a black dorsal patch. They have 23-36 secondary rhinaria on antennal segment III, 2-10 on segment IV and 0-1 on segment V.

The primary host of Dysaphis pyri is common pear (Pyrus communis). Leaves and shoots are yellowed and distorted to form a pseudogall (see second picture above). After about three generations on pear, alatae are produced which migrate to the secondary hosts. These are bedstraws, especially hedge bedstraw (Galium mollugo) and cleavers (Galium aparine) and sometimes squincywort (Asperula cynanchica). Dysaphis pyri may form colonies on the roots and prostrate stems, where it is attended by ants. Dysaphis pyri is found throughout Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Central and South Asia, and has been introduced into the USA.

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Dysaphis radicola (Apple-dock gall aphid)

Apterae of Dysaphis radicola are greyish-brown to lead grey or greyish-green, and are slightly wax powdered (see first picture below for colony on dock). Spinal tubercles are present on the head and abdominal tergites 8 or 7 and 8. Dysaphis radicola siphunculi are 2.0-2.5 times longer than the cauda. The longest hairs on the third abdominal tergite are shorter than the basal diameter of the third antennal segment.


Dysaphis radicola usually host alternates from Malus (apple) to the roots of Rumex (dock). The small primary gall near the apex of the apple leaf produced by the fundatrix comprises a longitudinal fold near the mid-rib (transverse for related Dysaphis species). Subsequent generations roll and redden the lateral margins of leaves of Malus (apple) in the same way as its close relatives. Alates produced in the second generation migrate to the roots of Rumex (dock).

This host alternating aspect of Dysaphis radicola biology is lost in British (and other) populations, and the aphids stay on dock all year. On dock the aphids feed at the base of the plant where they are attended by ants. The ants usually tent over the colony with soil particles as shown in the second image above. Dysaphis radicola occurs throughout Europe, in the Caucasus, in Japan and Australia and possibly the USA.

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Dysaphis sorbi (Rowan aphid)

In life Dysaphis sorbi apterae are reddish-brown to dark green. The pale yellowish siphunculi are cylindrical and slender. Winged females developing on the primary host have dark antennae and dark slender cylindrical siphunculi, plus an ochreous to reddish yellow abdomen with a dark trapeziform dorsal patch. The antennae are slightly longer than the body. Apterae have prominent small marginal tubercles on abdominal tergites I to VII. The cauda has 140 hairs.


Dysaphis sorbi is facultatively host alternating, with rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) as its primary host and bellflowers (Campanula) as its secondary host. Winged females are not produced till June and colonies may be found on rowan all year. On the primary host aphids may be found either in leaf galls or on the stems bearing developing berries.

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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 


  •  Heie, O.E. (1980-1995). The Aphidoidea, Hemiptera, of Fennoscandia and Denmark. (Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica) E.J. Brill, London