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Genus Tuberolachnus

Large willow aphids

Species Overview: Genus Tuberolachnus  Tuberolachnus salignus 

Genus Tuberolachnus [Lachnini]

Large aphids which may be winged or wingless. They have a single large tubercle on the back of the fourth abdominal tergite (just in front of the siphunculi). Siphunculi on large dark cones. Antennae about half the body length.

A small genus with only three species of aphids, two of which are only found in the Far East (subgenus Tuberolachniella). The remaining species, Tuberolachnus salignus is cosmopolitan, and feeds on willows (Salicaceae). It does not host alternate and does not appear to have a sexual stage in the life cycle. It may be ant attended.

 

Tuberolachnus salignus (Giant willow aphid)

Tuberolachnus salignus are very large aphids with a body length of 5.0-5.8 mm. Apterae are mid-brown to dark brown with several rows of black sclerotic patches. The body is covered with numerous fine hairs, which give a greyish-golden sheen to the abdomen. There is a large dark brown tubercle in the centre of the back, just in front of the siphunculi which are on large dark cones. The antennae are less than half the body length. Alates have the forewing membrane unpigmented but the pterostigma and costal margin are dark brown.

  Tuberolachnus salignus (Giant Willow Aphid) alate on Salix alba (White Willow) at Woods Mill, West Sussex, UK on 2/9/11 at 15.09 h.

The giant willow aphid lives on the stems and branches of numerous Willows & Sallows (Salix spp.) and is also very occasionally recorded from Poplar (Populus). Its distribution is almost cosmopolitan wherever willows are grown.

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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).

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