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Genus Ericaphis

Ericaphis aphids

Species Overview: Ericaphis ericae 

Ericaphis [Macrosiphini]

Ericaphis are rather small pale green or brown, often shiny aphids. The antennal and median tubercles on the head are variously developed and the antennae are shorter than the body. Apterae have no secondary rhinaria on their antennae, whilst those of alatae have a few on segment III only. Dorsal body hairs are short and blunt. The dorsal cuticle of apterae is wrinkled or corrugated. The apterae lack dark dorsal markings, but alatae have a dark dorsal abdominal patch. The siphunculi are of moderate length, cyclindrical or tapering, and often slightly curved outwards at the end. The cauda is finger or tongue-shaped.

Ericaphis feed on heaths (Ericaceae), Rosaceae and Liliaceae. There are nine species in the world of which 3 are native to Europe, and 6 to the Americas. Some of the American species have been introduced to Europe.

 

Ericaphis ericae (Cross-leaved heath aphid)

Adult apterae of Ericaphis ericae are green or brownish green with the tips of the antennae and legs black. The first tarsal segments usually have three hairs. Ericaphis ericae siphunculi have a large flange at the end. It is a small species with a body length of only 1.1-1.7 mm.

 

Cross-leaved heath aphids live without host alternates on Erica species, especially cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix), feeding on flowers and shoot apices. Oviparae and apterous males are produced in September and October. Blackman (2010) ) notes that Ericaphis ericae is often overlooked because of its small size and cryptic colouration.  It is found in Britain and continental Europe, east to Poland and south to Spain and Portugal.

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Acknowledgements

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 sp 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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