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Macrosiphum funestum

Blackberry aphid

On this page: Identification & Distribution  Other aphids on the same host 

Identification & Distribution:

The adult apterae of Macrosiphum funestum (see first picture below) are a rather dull green or red. Their antennae are dark or dusky with darker tips to each segment, and are longer than the body. Antennal hairs are long enough to be conspicuous (cf. Sitobion fragariae   which has short and blunt antennal hairs less than half the width of the base of antennal segment III). The tips of the tibiae and the ends of the femora are dark. The abdomen is unsclerotized apart from small marginal and antesiphuncular sclerites (cf. Sitobion fragariae   which has the dorsum sclerotized). The siphunculi are dusky but not black, and have paler bases (cf. Macrosiphum rosae  which has siphunculi entirely black). The siphunculi are about 0.33 times the body length, 2.5-3.5 times the length of the cauda (cf. Sitobion fragariae   which has siphunculi 1.7-2.7 times the length of the cauda). The siphunculi are reticulated on the apical 12-15%. The body length of Macrosiphum funestum apterae is 3.0-4.3 mm.

Alate and immature Macrosiphum funestum are shown in the pictures below. The siphunculi of the alate are rather dark except at the base.

The clarified slide mounts below are of adult viviparous female Macrosiphum funestum : wingless, and winged.

Micrographs of clarified mounts  by permission of Roger Blackman, copyright AWP  all rights reserved.

The blackberry aphid does not host alternate but spends its entire life cycle on blackberry (Rubus fruticosus agg.). Macrosiphum funestum lives mostly on the young shoots and leaves. Sexual forms are produced in autumn and the aphid overwinters as eggs on the blackberry stems.


Other aphids on same host:

Macrosiphum funestum has been recorded from 12 Rubus species.

Blackman & Eastop list 10 species of aphid  as feeding on blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) worldwide, and provide formal identification keys.

Of those aphid species, Baker (2015)  lists 7 as occurring in Britain: Amphorophora rubi,  Aphis ruborum,  Aulacorthum solani,  Macrosiphum euphorbiae,  Macrosiphum funestum, Macrosiphum rosae  and Sitobion fragariae. 


Our particular thanks to Roger Blackman for images of his clarified slide mounts.

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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