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Myzus persicae

Peach-potato aphid, Green peach aphid

On this page: Identification & Distribution 

Identification & Distribution:

The apterae of Myzus persicae are generally yellowish-green (see first picture below) but vary from whitish or pale yellowish green to mid-green, rose-pink or red (see second picture below). They are often darker in cold conditions. The antennae are 0.7-1.0 times the body length, reaching to the siphunculi. Their siphunculi are slightly swollen towards the darkened tips and are 1.9-2.5 times the lerngth of the rather pointed cauda. The body length of Myzus persicae apterae is 1.2-2.3 mm.

The alate Myzus persicae (first picture below) has a solid pigmented area occupying the mid-abdominal dorsum from segments 3 to 6, as well as further bars on adjoining segments. The second picture below is a micrograph of an aptera in alcohol - note the slightly swollen, dark-tipped siphunculi.

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

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

The peach-potato aphid does host alternate where the primary host - peach (Prunus persica) occurs. Eggs are laid on the primary host and spring colonies curl the young leaves. However, most of the population overwinters as mobile stages on herbaceous plants and brassicas. Myzus persicae is a major pest on its summer hosts including potatoes, sugar beet, lettuce, brassicas and legumes, mainly because it transmits a number of important plant viruses. Whilst Myzus persicae is a polyphagous generalist, the subspecies Myzus persicae nicotianae is a tobacco specialist.

Acknowledgements

We especially thank Plumpton College at Stanmer Park  for their kind assistance, and permission to sample.

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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