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Genus Lachnus

Variegated aphids

Species Overview: Lachnus Lachnus longirostris  Lachnus pallipes  Lachnus roboris 

Genus Lachnus [Lachnini]

Identification These are medium to large long-legged aphids with prominent siphuncular cones. The antennae are usually quite short - for apterae about half the body length. The cauda and anal plate are rounded. The alatae usually have pigmented wings - hence the English name 'variegated aphids'.

This genus includes about 22 species which mainly feed on the twigs and branches of broadleaved trees especially Fagaceae (oaks and beeches). They are nearly always attended by ants.

Lachnus longirostris (Scarce variegated oak aphid)

Apterae of Lachnus longirostris are shining dark reddish to blackish brown. The siphuncular cones are rather small. The abdominal dorsum is densely haired with long, fine-pointed hairs. The middle parts of the tibiae are pale and the antennae are 0.4 - 0.5 times the body length. In addition the hind tibia has hairs on the ventral side which are often longer and finer distally, but not with some hairs 2-3 times longer than others. The alatae have a pattern of forewing pigmentation similar to Lachnus roboris, but with a more extensive clear area between Rs and media. Body length is 2.4 - 5.0 mm.

 

Scarce variegated oak aphids are found on twigs and branches of oak (Quercus spp.). A very similar species Lachnus pallipes occurs on beech. The differences between the two species are mostly size-related and they are considered by some authorities to be the same species feeding on different hosts. Lachnus longirostris is widely distributed in Europe.

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Lachnus pallipes (Variegated beech aphid)

Apterae of Lachnus pallipes are shining dark reddish to blackish brown except for the siphuncular cones which are relatively pale. They are large with a body length of 3.0 - 5.0 mm. The abdominal dorsum is densely haired. The middle parts of the tibiae are pale and the antennae are 0.4 - 0.5 times the body length. The alatae have a pattern of forewing pigmentation similar to Lachnus roboris, but with a more extensive clear area between Rs and media.

 

Variegated beech aphids are found on two-year-old or older branches and stems of beech (Fagus sylvatica). Lachnus pallipes is found over most of Europe south to Bulgaria and east to Russia and (apparently) the Far East.

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Lachnus roboris (Variegated oak aphid)

Apterae are shining blackish brown. The dorsum has only a few short hairs. The antennae are quite short - for apterae 0.4-0.5 times the body length. There are two conical tubercles on the front of the mesosternum. The siphuncular cones are large and dark. The body length of apterae is 2.5-5.5 mm. Alates have the forewing membrane pigmented except for four clear patches (hence the name 'variegated').

 

Variegated oak aphids are found on twigs and small branches of oak (Quercus sp.) and sometimes sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa). They are present in Europe, the Mediterranean region and parts of the Middle East.

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Identifications & Acknowledgements

Whilst we make every effort to ensure that identifications are correct, we cannot absolutely warranty their accuracy. 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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