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Ovatus mentharius

Mint aphid

On this page: Identification & Distribution  Other aphids on the same host 

Identification & Distribution:

Ovatus mentharius apterae have been described as greenish-white but our photos (see first picture below) show that pale green with darker green markings may be a better description of the adult aptera. Immatures (see second picture below) are pale green. The antennae are as long as, or longer than, the body.

The inner sides of the antennal tubercle and the first antennal segment of Ovatus mentharius each have a forwardly directed process (see first picture below). The process on the antennal tubercle is as long as or longer than its basal width in dorsal view. The siphunculi are attenuated and cylindrical on the distal half and at midlength are about as thick as the hind tibiae at midlength (see second picture below); the siphunculi are 2.0-2.5 times as long as the cauda.

The body length of Ovatus mentharius is 1.2-1.8 mm. The alate viviparous female has the head and thorax brownish, the abdomen green, the antennae black and the siphunculi brownish with paler bases.

The mint aphid does not host alternate and lives all year on the underside of leaves of mint (Mentha spp.). We have found flourishing colonies on water mint in March in UK. Winged males and oviparae can be found in autumn. Ovatus mentharius is not attended by ants.

 

Other aphids on same host:

Blackman & Eastop (1984)  list 8 species of aphid as feeding on Mint (Mentha species) worldwide.

Of those aphid species, Baker (2015)  lists 6 as occurring in Britain: Aphis gossypii,  Eucarazzia elegans, Kaltenbachiella pallida,  Myzus ornatus,  Ovatus crataegarius  and Ovatus mentharius.

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).

Useful weblinks 

References

  •  Blackman, R.L. & Eastop, V.F. (1984). Aphids on the world's crops: an identification guide. J. Wiley & Sons, Chichester, UK.