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Rhopalomyzus lonicerae

Honeysuckle-grass aphid

Identification & Distribution 

Identification & Distribution:

Apterae of Rhopalomyzus lonicerae on their secondary host (grasses, see pictures below) are very pale cream. Their antennae have the apex of antennal segment 3 and segments 4-6 dark. The antennal tubercles are well developed and diverging; the median frontal tubercle is broad and flat. The siphunculi are pale and strongly swollen with the width near the distal end 1.7-2.0 times the basal width. The siphunculi are 1.3-1.6 times the length of the pale cauda. The Rhopalomyzus lonicerae body length is 2.0-2.6 mm.

Second image copyright Sandy Rae, all rights reserved

The micrograph below shows a lateral view Rhopalomyzus lonicerae. Note the dark antennae and the pale swollen siphunculi.

The alate viviparous female has a yellow abdomen with a dark dorsal patch on the middle tergites and smaller marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites. Rhopalomyzus lonicerae siphunculi and cauda are dark. The fundatrix on the primary host Lonicera (honeysuckle) has a dark green body which is powdered with greyish wax. The head, appendages, siphunculi and cauda are dark.

Rhopalomyzus lonicerae host alternates between the primary host, honeysuckle (Loranthus) and the secondary hosts which are various grasses (Poaceae), especially reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea). The leaves of the grass may be densely covered by aphids. It has a sexual stage in the life cycle, overwintering on the primary host as eggs. Rhopalomyzus lonicerae is found throughout Europe, central Asia and Siberia.

Acknowledgements

Our thanks to Sandy Rae  for his photo of the colony of the honeysuckle-grass aphid.

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) , 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).