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Myzus cymbalariae

Cymbalaria aphid

On this page: Identification & Distribution  Biology & Ecology 

Identification & Distribution

Adult apterae of Myzus cymbalariae are matt yellowish green or yellowish brown to dark brown or deep crimson red (cf. Myzus ascalonicus  which are shiny). The antennal tubercles have their inner faces apically convergent in dorsal view (cf. Myzus ascalonicus which has the inner faces approximately parallel in dorsal view). Their legs and antennae are pale, apart from the ends of the antennae and the tarsi. The dorsal cuticle is scaly (cf. Myzus ascalonicus which does not have the dorsal cuticle scaly). The siphunculi are shorter than antennal segment III, distinctly swollen towards the apex, evenly coloured throughout and with only a very small flange. The narrowest part of the stem of the siphunculi is slightly thicker than the hind tibia at midlength (cf. Myzus ascalonicus which has the narrowest part of the siphunculi equal in width or thinner than the hind tibia at midlength). The cauda is roughly triangular in shape, and short: about one third the length of the siphunculi. The body length of Myzus cymbalariae apterae is 1.2-2.0 mm.

The alate Myzus cymbalariae (see second picture above) has the dorsal abdominal sclerotization at least partly divided into separate segmental cross bands (cf. the alate Myzus ascalonicus which has a large central dark patch extending over at least the central areas of abdominal tergites 3-6 or 4-6).

The images below show a Myzus cymbalariae aptera and alate in alcohol.

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

The cymbalaria aphid does not host alternate, but is extremely polyphagous, feeding on a similar range of hosts to Myzus ascalonicus including Alliaceae, Caryophyllaceae, Scrophulariaceae, and Violaceae. There is no sexual stage in the life cycle and no eggs are produced. Like Myzus ascalonicus, Myzus cymbalariae was first found in Britain (in 1954), and has since spread to many parts of the world.

 

Biology & Ecology

Myzus cymbalariae can build up to quite large populations on common ornamental plants such as mouse ear (Cerastium tomentosum) (see picture below).

Colour

Myzus cymbalariae produces an unusual 'crimson' red-brown variant (see picture below). The most heavily pigmented forms are produced in colder weather.

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).