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Sitobion fragariae

Blackberry-grass aphid

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

Identification & Distribution:

The Sitobion fragariae aptera is spindle-shaped and a dirty yellowish green, with small brown intersegmental sclerites on the abdominal dorsum. Their antennae are about the same length as the body, with the basal segments paler than the rest. The siphunculi are about twice as long as the pale pointed cauda and are usually entirely black, although they may have paler bases on the primary host. Compared to Macrosiphum funestum the siphunculi are shorter relative to the cauda (only 2 ×) and are darker or black. The body length of Sitobion fragariae apterae is 1.6-3.0 mm long.

The blackberry - grass aphid host alternates from blackberry (Rubus fruticosus agg.) and occasionally other Rosaceae to Grasses (Poaceae) especially Holcus spp. and some Sedges (Carex spp). Sitobion fragariae eggs hatch in spring and the young nymphs feed on the breaking buds. Colonies build up and in summer alates migrate to cereals and grasses. A return migration takes place in autumn.

The clarified slide mounts below are of adult viviparous female Sitobion fragariae (on primary host) : wingless, and winged.

Micrographs of clarified mounts  by permission of Roger Blackman, copyright AWP  all rights reserved.

The clarified slide mounts below are of adult viviparous female Sitobion fragariae (on secondary host) : wingless, and winged.

 

Other aphids on same host:

Primary host:

Blackman & Eastop list 10 species of aphid  as feeding on blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) worldwide, and provide formal identification keys.

Of those aphid species, Baker (2015)  lists 7 as occurring in Britain: Amphorophora rubi,  Aphis ruborum,  Aulacorthum solani,  Macrosiphum euphorbiae,  Macrosiphum funestum,  Macrosiphum rosae  and Sitobion fragariae.

Secondary hosts:

Acknowledgements

Our particular thanks to Roger Blackman for images of his clarified slide mounts.

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, 10 June 14

Have an interesting aphid for you, what appears to be a Sitobion. It was found on Wall Barley, Hordeum murinum, on a small pier at Newlyn today. 10.06.14. SW 46490 28497. Juveniles quite orange in colour.

Few adults, mostly juveniles on each inflorescence, grass also looked like it was going over, becoming dry and purplish.

Hope I have the right genus.

Image(s) copyright www.aphotofauna.com  all rights reserved.

   

...

Think I have it, Sitobion avenae!

A variable little beastie!

Bob, InfluentialPoints:

  • I know it can be rather variable, but I'm not convinced it is Sitobian avenae.

    Even allowing for foreshortening due to perspective, the siphunculi are too long relative to the cauda. (S. avenae siphunculi are no more than 1.4 times the length of the cauda.)

    Given the host and the dark siphunculi, it is much more likely to be Sitobion fragariae, whose siphunculi are at least twice the length of the cauda.