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Genus Schizolachnus

Waxy pine needle aphids

Species Overview: Schizolachnus obscurus  pineti 

Genus Schizolachnus [Lachnini]

These are small oval-bodied, hairy aphids. The body is usually covered with a dense coat of flocculent wax. The siphuncular cones are small and pale.

This genus includes seven species (four nearctic and three palaearctic) all of which feed on pine (Pinus spp.) needles. They are found as small densely packed colonies along a needle. Despite the rather different appearance of the aphids, Schizolachnus is closely related to Eulachnus.

 

Schizolachnus obscurus (Waxy brown pine needle aphid) 

The apterae are brownish covered in greyish white wax. The last rostral segment (R5) has a long tip. R5 is more than 46 um long, and more than than 0.45 times the penultimate segment (R4). The hind tibia is dark. The body length of apterae is 1.9-2.7 mm.

 

The waxy brown pine needle aphid is mainly found on the needles of European Black Pine (Pinus nigra) although it has also been found on other Pine species within Europe. Schizolachnus obscurus is found in Europe east to Turkey and may well occur elsewhere.

 

Schizolachnus pineti (Waxy grey pine needle aphid) 

The apterae are dark greyish-green covered in wax meal giving a light bluish-grey appearance. The last rostral segment (R5) is very short and stumpy with a short tip. R5 is less than 46 um long from base to tip, and less than 0.45 times R4. The hind tibiae are pale or dark and very densely hairy. The body length is 1.2-2.5 mm.

 

The waxy grey pine needle aphid is found on numerous pine species (Pinus) especially on young trees, forming dense colonies in rows along the previous year's needles. Schizolachnus pineti is common and widespread in Europe and parts of Asia and introduced to North America.

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Identifications & Acknowledgements

Whilst we make every effort to ensure that identifications are correct, we cannot absolutely warranty their accuracy. 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 

 

Identification requests

David Fenwick, 11 July 2013, Schizolachnus obscurus?

Have been looking on the pines in a local cemetery, and at various times over the past month or two. They seem clean but yesterday I had my first pine aphid from them. Was hard work and it seemed to be the only one, I think possibly Schizolachnus obscurus. Was on a two-needled pine, needles appeared a bit stiff for P. sylvestris so might have been another species. Tree too small to tell from [growth] habit. Would be pleased if Schizolachnus obscurus could be confirmed as there are no Schizolachnus on the Cornish database.

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Bob, Influentialpoints:

  • It would be good if you could confirm the pine species. Having said that, both aphid species occur on both Scots and Corsican Pine, although with different relative abundance.

    Probably the best way to distinguish for certain is to drop aphid specimen in alcohol, which partially removes the wax and makes it easier to see the underlying colour.

I should have done that on site, I carry absolute [ethanol] with me wherever I go; my only problem is that I have to get the idea well in my head first else I forget. Will certainly get round to this soon.

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12 July 2013

BTW Gutted about not identifying that pine, we had to do a lot of work on pines when I was at college. Mind you, some time ago now. Will see what I can do to ID it.