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Genus Kaltenbachiella

Elm gall mint aphids

On this page: Genus Kaltenbachiella  Kaltenbachiella pallida 

Kaltenbachiella [Macrosiphini]

Kaltenbachiella are a genus of eight species related to Colopha  and Tetraneura.  But instead of producing a gall on the leaf lamina, first instar Kaltenbachiella fundatrices cause a gall near the base of leaf mid-rib. The hind wing of Kaltenbachiella alates has two oblique veins.

Most Kaltenbachiella use Ulmus as their primary host, their secondary host (where known) are mainly Lamiaceae.


Kaltenbachiella pallida (Elm-mint leaf-base gall aphid)

The gall of Kaltenbachiella pallida on elm is closed, more-or-less globular and covered in short fine hairs. It arises from the mid-rib of the upper surface of the leaf near its base (cf. Eriosoma lanuginosum which has a similarly hairy gall, but most or all of the leaf forms a green or reddish-tinged large bladder, usually in clusters, arising at ends of twigs.

Immature alatae (see first picture below) are pale orange yellow. The adult alatae (see second picture below) have the forewing media usually unbranched, sometimes once-branched. The body length of alatae is 1.8-2.1 mm.

Both images above copyright Dr László Érsek, all rights reserved.

The alatae migrate in summer to the roots of mint (Mentha, marjoram (Origanum vulgare), thyme (Thymus) and woundwort (Stachys). Colonies of very small yellow-white aphids develop on the roots among flocculent masses of white wax. The body length of apterae on the secondary hosts is 0.9-1.3 mm.

Alatae appear in late-summmer to early-autumn and migrate to elm where eventually overwintering eggs are laid.

Kaltenbachiella pallida occurs in Britain, throughout continental Europe and in north Africa, Middle East, south-west and central Asia, west Siberia, China, and is reported also from Argentina.

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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 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).

Useful weblinks 


  •  Blackman, R.L. & Eastop, V.F. (2006). Aphids on the world's herbaceous plants and shrubs. Vols 1 and 2. John Wiley & Sons.