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Genus Macrosiphoniella [Macrosiphini]

Macrosiphoniella are green or brown aphids often covered with a thin layer of wax powder over most of the body. Their eyes are red. There is no median tubercle and the antennal tubercles are usually well developed with diverging inner sides. The antennae are normally longer than the body. the abdomen normally has crescent shaped sclerites in front of the siphunculi. Dorsal body hairs on many species are on distinctly visible scleroites. Siphunculi are rather short and thick, cylindrical or tapering, with reticulations on the apical 25-75%; the terminal flange is small or absent. The cauda is long and finger shaped.

There are about 110 species of Macrosiphoniella worldwide, mostly in the northern hemisphere. There is no host alternation and all species feed on daisies (Asteraceae), most on species of the division Anthemideae. Many Macrosiphoniella species feed on just one genus of this group, some on just one species. Sexual forms occur in autumn and eggs hibernate on low parts of plants or on dead leaves. When disturbed the aphids tend to drop off their plant and 'play dead'.


Macrosiphoniella absinthii (Absinthe aphid)

In life Macrosiphoniella absinthii is reddish-brown and wax-powdered. It has a black head, antennae, legs, siphunculi and cauda, and a black spot in the centre of the abdomen which is highlighted by a white surround of powdered wax. The siphunculi are very thick and short and are reticulated on the apical 48-60%.. The body length of apterae is 1.7-2.5 mm.


The absinthe aphid does not host alternate. Sexual forms (apterous or alate males) occur in autumn. It feeds on the upper parts of absinthe (Artemisia absinthium spp.) and related species. It is not usually ant attended. Macrosiphoniella absinthii occurs in northern and central Europe eastward to Siberia and Iran. It is also found in north Africa and the Mediterranean area, and has been introduced to the USA, Canada and Argentina.

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Macrosiphoniella artemisiae (Mugwort aphid)

Apterae are of moderate size, greyish-green and wax powdered. The antennae and legs are mostly black, except for the base of antennal segment 3 and the basal part of the front femur which are brown. The siphunculi and cauda are entirely black. The body hairs are not placed on dark scleroites, and the sclerites in front of the siphunculi are very pale and hardly visible. The siphunculi are 0.6-0.9 times the length of the cauda. The body length of apterae is 2.3-3.6 mm. The alate is much like the aptera but the marginal sclerites are well developed.


The mugwort aphid lives on the upper parts of mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) especially amongst the flowers. Sexual forms occur in the autumn, and the species overwinters as eggs. It is found in Europe, north Asia, North Africa and North America.

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Macrosiphoniella millefolii (Yarrow aphid)

Apterae of Macrosiphoniella millefolii are of moderate size, green and wax powdered except for a spinal stripe on the abdomen and presiphuncular spots. The antennae, siphunculi and cauda are black; the legs are mostly black except for the basal part of the front femur which is brown. Dark sclerites are present on the sides and just in front of the siphunculi. There are numerous long body hairs on the dorsum positioned on dark scleroites; some of these may be fused into larger sclerites.


The yarrow aphid does not host alternate and feeds on yarrow (Achillea millefolium). It has a sexual stage in its life cycle. It is common and widespread in Europe and North America.

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Macrosiphoniella oblonga (Slender mugwort aphid)

A distinctive rather elongated apple-green aphid with a darker green spinal stripe. The body hairs are not placed on dark scleroites The antennae are mostly pale but with the apices of segments 3 and 4 darker, and segments 5 and 6 dark. The legs are long, thin and pale. The siphunculi are greenish with brownish tips; they are thinnest over the distal one third but broader towards the apex. The cauda is green. The body length is 3.0-5.1 mm.


The slender mugwort aphid can be found scattered on the undersides of the lower leaves of mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) and cultivated chrysanthemum species. It does not form large colonies. Sexual forms can be found in autumn, and the species overwinters as eggs. The male is apterous and very slender. It occurs in Europe and much of north Asia.

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Macrosiphoniella sejuncta (Large mottled yarrow aphid)

Adult Macrosiphoniella sejuncta apterae are usually green mottled with brownish red, with no wax powdering (see two pictures below). The antennae are rather dark with a paler base to segment III. The first tarsal segment has only 3 hairs.They have dark crescent shaped presiphuncular sclerites The siphunculi are greenish brown to brown with paler bases and the cauda is a pale greenish brown. Their siphunculi are very thin, slightly swollen at the base, slightly widened at the apex and with reticulation on the apical 48-69%. They are 1.7 to 2.2 times the length of the cauda. The body length of the adult aptera is 2.5-3.1 mm.


The alate is much like the apterous viviparous female, but is more slender and has well developed marginal sclerites as well as presiphuncular sclerites. The third antennal segment has 30-40 rhinaria. The ovipara is similar to the apterous vivivipara, but the cauda is slightly thicker and blunt, and the basal half of the hind tibia is swollen. The male is wingless and small with a body length of only about 2 mm.

Macrosiphoniella sejuncta feeds on the older leaves close to the ground of yarrow (Achillea millefolium). The best way to find these aphids is to shake the host-plants over a sheet placed on the soil under the leaves. The species does not host alternate, but remains all year on yarrow - overwintering in the egg stage. Sexual forms can be found in September and October. The large mottled yarrow aphid is found across Europe east to Western Siberia.

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Macrosiphoniella tanacetaria (Tansy aphid)

The apterae are large wax powdered green or pinkish-brown aphids. The antennae are black including the base of the third segment (distinguishes from artemisiae). The legs, siphunculi and cauda are also black. There are no body hairs on dark scleroites. The antennae are 1.0-1.3 times the body length with the terminal process 2.9-3.5 times the length of the base of the last antennal segment. The siphunculi are 0.1-0.2 times the body length and 0.6-0.9 times the length of the cauda. The body length of apterae is 3.2-4.1 mm. The female alate is much like aptera.


The tansy aphid spends it entire lifecycle on tansy (Tanacetum spp.), chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum spp.) and mayweed (Matricaria spp.) Colonies occur on upper parts of stem and between the flowers. Eggs are laid on the stem and withered leaves. The species is common and widespread throughout Europe extending into North Africa, parts of Asia and the Americas.

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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 


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

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