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Myzus ascalonicus

Shallot aphid

Identification & Distribution 

Identification & Distribution:

Myzus ascalonicus apterae are quite small and shiny pale brownish green to dirty yellow. Their legs and antennae are pale, apart from the ends of the antennae and the tarsi. The siphunculi are shorter than antennal segment III, distinctly swollen towards the apex, evenly coloured throughout and with only a very small flange. The cauda is roughly triangular in shape, and short: about one third the length of the siphunculi. The body length of Myzus ascalonicus apterae is 1.1-2.2 mm.

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

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

The shallot aphid does not host alternate, but is extremely polyphagous feeding on crops such as onions, shallots, strawberries, lettuce, brassicas and potatoes and many garden ornamentals. There is no sexual stage in the life cycle and no eggs are produced. Instead Myzus ascalonicus is cold-hardy and overwinters in glasshouses and sheltered areas. Numbers may build up even at low temperatures in winter and spring, with alates migrating to other crops up to mid-June.

Acknowledgements

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).

Useful weblinks 

 

Identification requests

Alexandra Shaw, March 09, 2014, ID?

Thought of you as I got this plant out of the conservatory earlier today.

Image copyright Alexandra Shaw, all rights reserved.

 

Bob, InfluentialPoints:

  • Thanks for the photo -- they do seem to be doing rather well.

    Sadly, unlike birds, we can rarely ID aphids from a photo - even if it is up-close and personal.

    There are at least 600 aphid species in UK (many of which are fairly plant specific).

    Do you know what plant they were on? Could you send us a live sample in a small plastic box??

    If you have nothing better to do for an afternoon we have some pages on finding and identifying aphids.

    And yes, given the record-breaking mild winter, we expect an awful lot of aphids this year...

Do you really want me to send you some? I'm happy to do so. I've put the plant, a bulb of sorts [probably wild hyacinth], outside from the conservatory so they may have given up in the cold.

Bob, InfluentialPoints:

  • Many thanks for sending us the beasties.

    [Examining the sample, thus far we have only] found "fourth-instar alates" (they have developing wing-buds).

    Given which the rest of the ravening hoard you found has probably matured to adult alates - and flapped-off.

    ...

    As you may have gathered we are trying to raise a few to (wingless) adults so we can identify them.

    One, somewhat mangled bit of [leaf] is in water...

...

Image: InfluentialPoints.

  • Given the siphunculi are clearly swollen and the aphids are brownish green, these are probably Myzus ascalonicus, but only immatures were present - which we were unable to raise through to adults.