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Genus Melanaphis

Melanaphis Aphids

Species Overview: Melanaphis pyraria how to identify Melanaphis pyraria

Genus Melanaphis

Small to medium-sized to elongate oval or pear-shaped aphids closely related to Rhopalosiphum aphids. The siphunculi are shorter than the cauda. The abdomen has dark dorsal markings. The winged forms have dark forewing veins with the media vein twice-branched.

There are about 25 species of Melanaphis aphids. The three European species are associated with Rosaceae and Poaceae, whilst the remaining East Asian species are associated with Miscanthus or Arundinaria.

 

Melanaphis pyraria (Pear-grass aphid)

On the primay host, the dorsal abdomen has a solid dark sclerotic shield. The hairs on the antenna and dorsal body are minute, less than half the diameter of the third antennal segment. The siphunculi are about twice their basal width. Body length is 1.3-2.1 mm.

 

Our thanks to Giuseppe Cocuzza for correcting our original misidentification of this species.

Melanaphis pyraria host alternates from its primary host pear (Pyrus) to its secondary hosts grasses (including Arrhenatherum, Poa, Holcus and Triticum). On the primary host they roll the leaves transversely or diagonal to the mid-rib. The gall may become yellowed or reddened as shown above. They may be attended by ants. On the secondary host the appearance of the aphid differs according to the particular genus of grass colonized - reddish purple on Arrhenatherum, and yellowish on Poa and Triticum.

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 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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