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Genus Trama

Daisy root aphids

Species Overview: Trama   Trama rara  Trama troglodytes 

Trama [Lachnini]

Trama are medium to large aphids. They are whitish and densely hairy with small compound eyes. The antennae are about 0.5 times the body length, with the antennal terminal process less than 0.25 times the base of antennal segment 6. The hind tarsus is greatly elongated. Trama aphids have neither siphunculi nor siphuncular pores, and the cauda is rounded.

There are 14 Trama species worldwide, mostly living on the roots of Asteraceae where they are attended by ants.

 

Trama rara (Dandelion root aphid)

Adult apterae of Trama rara are whitish to olive-brown (see first picture below). Alates (second image below) are darker.

 

The eyes have 25-50 facets (cf. Trama troglodytes  where the eyes have only 3 facets). The antennae of apterae (see first picture above) are slightly shorter than half the body length (see first picture above), with the terminal process about 0.22-0.25 times the base of the sixth antennal segment. The second hind tarsal segment is greatly elongated (see two pictures above), being 0.84-0.92 times the length of the hind tibia (cf. Trama troglodytes which has the second hind tarsal segment 0.60-0.82 times the length of the hind tibia). The adult Trama rara aptera body length is 2.5-3.5 mm. The Trama rara alate (see second picture above) has dark dorsal and marginal sclerites on the abdomen.

Trama rara live in ant attended colonies on the roots of dandelion (Taraxacum spp.) and a few other Asteraceae. It is found in Europe, parts of Asia and in North America.

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Trama troglodytes (Artichoke tuber aphid)

Adult apterae of Trama troglodytes are white, yellowish-white or grey depending on age. The antennae are about 0.5-0.6 times the body length, with the terminal process shorter than the base of the sixth antennal segment. The most distinctive character of this aphid is the elongate hind tarsus (see pictures below) which has the second hind tarsal segment 0.60-0.82 times the length of the hind tibia. (cf. Trama rara  which has the second hind tarsal segment 0.84-0.92 times the length of the hind tibia). The cauda is semi-circular. The body length of the adult Trama troglodytes aptera is 2.5-3.9 mm.

 

The alate has dark dorsal and marginal sclerites. The antenna of the alate has 0-4 secondary rhinaria on segment III, 0-4 on segment IV and 0-6 on segment V.

The artichoke tuber aphid lives on the roots of many Asteraceae, especially Achillea, Artemisia, Cirsium and Sonchus. They are invariably attended by ants. They mainly overwinter as parthenogenetic forms, but oviparae and blind wingless males have been found in southern England. The species is found in Europe, west Siberia, Central Asia and Japan.

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Acknowledgements

We are extremely grateful to Maria Fremlin  who sent us both living and preserved specimens of Trama rara from colonies she found on dandelion roots in allotments in Colchester, Essex.

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. (2006). Aphids on the world's herbaceous plants and shrubs. Vols 1 and 2. John Wiley & Sons.