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Tuberculatus borealis

Blue-green oak aphid

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

Identification & Distribution:

Winged viviparae of Tuberculatus borealis are pale blue-green, yellow mottled with green, or yellow, with blackish-banded antennae. The terminal process of the sixth segment of the antennae is 0.9-1.3 times the length of the base of that antennal segment. Abdominal tergites 1- 4 each have a pair of spinal processes, but those on tergite 4 are sometimes very small (these processes are difficult to see on live specimens). The siphunculi are only apically dark (rarely over more than the distal half). The body length of Tuberculatus borealis alates is 1.9-2.3 mm.

The blue-green oak aphid is found on English oak (Quercus robur), more rarely on other oaks. Tuberculatus borealis is found across northern Europe into western Russia and east to Iran. It has been introduced to North America.

 

Biology & Ecology

Very little work has been done on the ecology of this species. Ratajczak & Wilkaniec (2011)   conducted studies on the structure of aphid communities on trees. One such study was done in The Kornik Arboretum in Poland. Sampling was by Moericke water traps for alate aphids and by searching of the plants. The structure of communities was characterized using a number of indices including the number of specimens, the number of species and the dominance index. Tuberculatus borealis comprised 1.02% (= dominance index) of the aphids found, putting it in the 'recedent' (1-5%) category. It was less common than Tuberculatus annulatus  which in Britain is usually the commoner species.

Senol et al. (2015)  reported Tuberculatus borealis as new to the aphidofauna of Turkey, and provided a useful description of the species' distinguishing features.

 

Other aphids on same host:

Blackman & Eastop list about 225 species of aphids  as feeding on oaks worldwide, and provides formal identification keys for aphids on Quercus.

Of the 34 species on common or pedunculate oak (Quercus robur), Baker (2015)  lists 15 as occurring in Britain: Hoplocallis picta,  Lachnus longirostris,  Lachnus roboris,  Moritziella corticalis, Myzocallis boerneri,  Myzocallis castanicola,  Phylloxera glabra,  Stomaphis quercus,  Stomaphis wojciechowskii, Thelaxes dryophila,  Thelaxes suberi,  Tuberculatus annulatus,  Tuberculatus borealis, Tuberculatus neglectus,  and Tuberculatus querceus.

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).

Useful weblinks 

References

  •  Ratajczak, J. & Wilkaniec, B. (2011). Structure of aphid communities (Hemiptera: Aphidoidea) in the Kornik Arboretum, near Poznan (West Poland). Polish Journal of Entomology 80, 429-442. Full Text 

  •  Senol, O. et al. (2015). New additions and invasive aphids for Turkey's aphidofauna (Hemiptera: Aphidoidea). Turkish Journal of Zoology 39, 39-45. Full text