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Ovatus mentharius

Mint aphid

Identification & Distribution 

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. Immatures (see second picture below) are pale green.

 

Ovatus mentharius antennae are as long as the body or longer. The inner sides of the antennal tubercle and the first antennal segment 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); they 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.

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).

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