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Ovatomyzus boraginacearum (= Ovatomyzus calaminthae)

Alkanet aphid

On this page: Identification & Distribution 

Identification & Distribution:

Apterae of Ovatomyzus boraginacearum are usually whitish to pale greenish yellow, but may be brownish yellow to orange in overwintering populations. Their antennal tubercles are smooth and well developed. The pale antennae are longer than the body, and the terminal process of antennal segment 6 is 1.5-2.3 times the length of antennal segment 3. The pale siphunculi do not have any distinct subapical polygonal reticulation, and are slightly swollen subapically, narrowing to a slight constriction before flange. Ovatomyzus boraginacearum is a very small aphid, with a body length of only 0.9-1.6 mm.

The alate has a black dorsal abdominal patch and cross bars on the posteriortergites. The antennae and legs of the alate are dark, the siphunculi and cauda are dusky.

The alkanet aphid lives scattered on the undersides of leaves of its host plants, which are mainly Boraginaceae (Pentaglottis, Anchusa, Pulmonaria, Symphytum), and less commonly Dipsacaceae. Ovatomyzus boraginacearum does not have sexual forms, but has a specialized hibernating apterous morph. It has been found in several European countries including England, Germany and Netherlands, as well as in Iran.


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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