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Acyrthosiphon aphidsOn this page: Genus Acyrthosiphon Acyrthosiphon boreale Acyrthosiphon loti Acyrthosiphon malvae Acyrthosiphon pisum Acyrthosiphon primulae
Acyrthosiphon aphids are rather large broadly spindle-shaped, short-haired aphids with long antennae, legs, siphunculi and cauda. Acyrthosiphon aphids are usually green but sometimes brownish, pink, or yellow. There are sometimes small marginal tubercles on abdominal segments II-IV and small spinal tubercles on the head. The antennal tubercles are well developed, usually smooth with diverging inner sides. The median frontal tubercle is very small or absent. The antennae are about as long as the body or longer. Apterae have secondary rhinaria near the base of antennal segment III; alates have more rhinaria on III. The siphunculi are cylindrical or tapering, occasionally with 1-3 rows of hexagonal cells below the distinct flange. The cauda is tongue- or finger-shaped, often slightly constricted.
This is a genus of about 80 species worldwide living without host alternation on various dicotyledons, particularly Fabaceae, Rosaceae, and Euphorbiaceae.
Adult apterae of Acyrthosiphon boreale are green with the anterior part of the body yellowish. Their antennal tubercles are well developed with diverging, rough inner sides. The antennae are 0.7-1.1 the body length and the terminal process is 4.6- 6.0 times longer than the base of the sixth antennal segment. The third antennal segment of the aptera has 2-14 (rarely less than 5) slightly raised secondary rhinaria mainly on the basal half.The dorsal cuticle is slightly sclerotized and wrinkled, but not pigmented. The siphunculi are cylindrical with a rather well developed flange. The siphunculi are 0.21-0.30 times the body length and 1.5-2.6 times longer than the cauda. The cauda is rather thick, not constricted and bearing 7-11 hairs.
The fundatrix is similar to the aptera, but the terminal process is only 2.7 times longer than the base of the sixth antennal segment. Males are apterous.
Acyrthosiphon boreale lives year round on cinquefoils (Potentilla) species. It has a boreo-alpine distribution including northern Europe, Greenland and Canada.
Apterae of Acyrthosiphon loti are green, or rarely pink, often with indistinct greyish transverse stripes. Their antennae have dark apices, but the individual antennal segments do not have dark apices. The antennae are 0.9-1.0 times the body length, and the antennal terminal process is 3.2-4.0 times longer than the base. The antennal tubercles of Acyrthosiphon loti are low and smooth and strongly diverging. The median frontal tubercle is low and flat. Acyrthosiphon loti siphunculi are dark tipped and are 1.2-1.6 times the caudal length. The siphuncular diameter at the midpoint is 1.0-1.4 times the diameter of the hind tibia at its midpoint. The body length of Acyrthosiphon loti is 1.7 to 2.9 mm.
The alate has rather indistinct marginal sclerites and pleural intersegmental sclerites. The third antennal segment has 3-19 rather large rhinaria, and the siphunculi are thinner than in the apterae. The apterous male Acyrthosiphon loti is greyish red with a very slender body.
The green trefoil aphid does not host alternate. Sexual forms occur in autumn and males are apterous or alate. It feeds on various members of the pea family (Fabaceae) especially trefoils (Lotus, Anthyllis and Hippocrepis) and lucerne (also known as alfalfa, Medicago sativa). Acyrthosiphon loti is found in Europe, eastward to Turkey, and has been introduced to Argentina.
Acyrthosiphon malvae apterae are green, yellowish or greyish green, or pinkish red, The femora and siphunculi are pale. The terminal process of antennal segment VI is 4.8-5.8 times the length of its base. The longest hair on antennal segment III is 0.7-1.0 times the diameter of that segment and the apterae have 1-24 secondary rhinaria on that segment. The fused apical rostral segments are 1.1-1.4 times the second hind tarsal segment. Their siphunculi have no polygonal reticulation, are cylindrical on the distal half and are 1.8-2.2 times the pale caudal length. The body length is 1.5-3.2 mm.
Acyrthosiphon malvae alatae have 12-31 secondary rhinaria on antennal segment III.
Acyrthosiphon malvae is found on many plants, but particularly herbaceous Rosaceae. There are many subspecies, mostly with specific host-plant associations.
The geranium aphid does not host alternate. All subspecies spend their entire life cycles on their respective host plants, overwintering in the egg stage.
The pea aphid can be found feeding on about 20 genera in the family Fabaceae but especially on Medicago, Melilotus, Trifolium, Dorycnium and Lotus. Acyrthosiphon pisum is a major pest of peas and alfalfa, partly because of direct feeding damage and partly because of virus transmission. Adults readily fall to the ground if the plant is disturbed. The pea aphid is found worldwide in temperate climates.
Adult apterae of Acyrthosiphon primulae (see first picture below) are shiny pale yellow to greenish yellow. They have dark tips to the antennae and legs, but not to the siphunculi which are entirely pale. The median frontal tubercle is slightly developed. The siphunculi are 2.2-3.1 times longer than the cauda. The cauda of Acyrthosiphon primulae is 1.3-1.6 times longer than the base of antennal segment 6 (cf. Acyrthosiphon malvae which has the cauda 1.8-2.6 times longer than the base of antennal segment 6).
Acyrthosiphon primulae lives on the underside of leaves of Primula species, especially cowslip (Primula veris) and Kew primrose (Primula X kewensis). It reproduces solely by parthenogenesis and no sexual forms are known. Acyrthosiphon primulae is found in Britain and some European countries, and has been introduced to Tasmania, New Zealand and California.