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Aphididae : Aphidinae : Macrosiphini : Amphorophora


Genus Amphorophora

Berry aphids

On this page: Amphorophora agathonica ampullata forbesi gei idaei rubi

Genus Amphorophora [Macrosiphini]

Amphorophora are medium-sized to large rather pale greenish aphids. Adult viviparae may be winged or wingless. The body is elongate or oval, with long legs and antennae, the latter longer than body. Their antennal tubercles are well developed, with the inner margins nearly straight and distinctly divergent. The median frontal tubercle is less well developed. The siphunculi are long, distinctly but usually only slightly swollen on apical half, with a clearly marked apical flange, and no polygonal reticulation. The cauda is not very elongate, and somewhat blunt at its apex.

There are about 27 species of Amphorophora aphids, mostly in North America but with some in Europe and Asia. They have a sexual stage in the life cycle. They do not host alternate and feed on the leaves and stems of berries (Rubus spp., Rosaceae) or ferns. They are not attended by ants. Some species are important soft-fruit pests.


Amphorophora agathonica (American large raspberry aphid) North America

Adult apterae of Amphorophora agathonica (see first picture below) are pale green. The apical rostral segment (R IV+V) is 1.05-1.85 times the length of the second hind tarsal segment (HT II) (cf. Amphorophora sensoriata and Amphorophora rubicumberlandi, which have RIV+V 0.6-0.8 times the length of HTII). The siphunculi are pale greenish at the base, shading to dark brown towards the apices (cf. Amphoropha idaei and Amphorophora rubi, which have entirely pale siphunculi apart from a darker apical rim, and Amphorophora tigwatensa, which have the siphunculi dusky or dark). The cauda and legs are light to medium brown. The siphunculi are swollen on the distal half (cf. Aphis rubicola, which have siphunculi tapering from base to flange). The siphunculi have no zone of polygonal reticulation (cf. Illinoia rubicola, which have a sub-apical zone of polygonal reticulation). The cauda is 1.5-2.7 times R IV+V and 2.2-3.4 times the base of antennal segment VI. The body length of adult Amphorophora agathonica apterae is 2.4-4.7 mm. Immature American large raspberry aphids (see second picture below) are whitish-yellow.

Both images above by permission, copyright Claude Pilon, all rights reserved.

Amphorophora agathonica alatae have a pale brown head and thorax with a pale green abdomen.

Amphorophora agathonica feeds on the young stems and undersides of leaves of red raspberry (Rubus idaeus var. strigosus), and occasionally in small numbers on other Rubus species such as black raspberry Rubus occidentalis. These aphids do not host alternate, but remain all year on raspberry. Sexuales develop in autumn with oviparae and alate males. The species is widely distributed in North America north of about latitude 38 ° N, including Alaska and Nova Scotia. It has not been found in Europe or Asia.



Amphorophora ampullata (Dark-tipped fern aphid) Europe, Asia, North America

Adult apterae of Amphorophora ampullata are green except for the eyes which are red, the siphunculi which have the distal half brown and the apices black, the tarsi and tips of antennal segments III-VI and tibiae all of which are black (see two pictures below of apterae of the nominate subspecies Amphorophora ampullata ampullata and the American subspecies, Amphorophora ampullata laingi). For Amphorophora ampullata ampullata, the terminal process is 3.5-5.2 times as long as the base of antennal segment VI (cf. Amphorophora ampullata laingi, where the terminal process is 5.0-6.6 times the length of the base of antennal segment VI). Antennal segment III has 5-23 secondary rhinaria (cf. Amphorophora ampullata bengalensis, the Chinese subspecies, which has only 1-6 rhinaria near the base). The apical rostral segment (RIV+V) is 0.85-1.15 times the as long as the second hind tarsal segment (HTII) (cf. Amphorophora ampullata bengalensis, which has RIV+V 1.15-1.4 times the length of HTII). Their siphunculi are almost smooth, have little or no subapical reticulation, and are swollen on the distal part with a maximum width about twice the narrowest width just next to the flange. The siphunculi are 1.9-2.7 times the length of the cauda (cf. Amphorophora ampullata laingi, which has siphunculi 1.5-2.1 times the caudal length). The cauda is short and thick with 20 hairs. The body length of adult apterae of Amphorophora ampullata ampullata is 3.0-5.0 mm.

Second image above by permission, copyright Claude Pilon, all rights reserved.

The alate (see third picture above) is much like the apterous viviparous female, except that antennal segment III has 21-51 secondary rhinaria. Immature Amphorophora ampullata ampullata resemble the adult viviparae.


  • Amphorophora ampullata sensu stricto (= Amphorophora ampullata ampullata) occurs in Europe and USA.
  • Amphorophora ampullata ssp. laingi occurs in USA, with populations mainly associated with Onoclea sensibilis and Matteuccia spp. (Onocleae).
  • Amphorophora ampullata ssp. bengalensis occurs in China.

Amphorophora ampullata feeds on the frond undersides of a number of fern genera (e.g. Asplenium, Athyrium, Cystopteris, Dryopteris, Onoclea, Polypodium, Polystichum). It does not host alternate, remaining all year on ferns. Sexual forms with alate males develop in autumn, and the population overwinters in the egg stage. Amphorophora ampullata is found in Europe, Asia and North America.



Amphorophora forbesi (Green salmonberry aphid) North America

Adult apterae of Amphorophora forbesi (see picture below) are shiny light green, sometimes with darker green patches spinally and marginally. The apices of their tibiae and siphunculi are light brown. The head is spiculose only ventrally (cf. Illinoia maxima, where the head lacks spicules; and cf. Myzus persicae, where the head is densely spiculose dorsally and ventrally). The antennal tubercles are steep sided and slightly scabrous, and there is a low median frontal tubercle. The antennae are slightly shorter than the body, darkened towards the apices and without secondary rhinaria. The antennal terminal process is 3.8-7.2 times as long as the base of antennal segment VI. The apical rostral segment (RIV+V) is 1.1-1.33 times the length of the second hind tarsal segment. The dorsum of the abdomen has no pigmented sclerotic areas. The siphunculi are slightly swollen at the distal three-fifths, narrowing beyond the swelling to a prominent flange (cf. Macrosiphum euphorbiae, which have tapering siphunculi). The siphunculi are 2.5-3.2 times the caudal length. The cauda is rather hairy with 6-8 hairs on each side, and 3 or 4 dorsal ones.

Image above copyright Andrew Jensen under a Creative Commons License.

The alate (not pictured) has 13-20 secondary rhinaria on antennal segment III, arranged in a straight line. The wings are hyaline except for a narrow fuscous border along each vein. There are no pigmented sclerotic areas on the dorsum of the alate.

Amphorophora forbesi feeds on the undersides of the leaves of salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis, see picture below). Jensen in Aphidtrek notes that it easily found on Rubus spectabilis, albeit it has yet to be found on any other Rubus species. Oviparae and males have not been described, but the species is most likely holocyclic monoecious. It has so far only been found in western North America, namely British Columbia in Canada and Washington & Oregon in the United States.



Amphorophora gei (Water avens aphid) Europe, North America

Adult apterae of Amphorophora gei are deep yellow to pale green with dusky swollen siphunculi and a thick cauda (see pictures below) (cf. Acyrthosiphon malvae ssp. potha which is yellowish or greyish green, but does not have swollen siphunculi). The antennae are about 1.2 times the body length, with the terminal process of antennal segment 6 about 5.0-7.1 times the length of the base of that segment. Antennal segment III has 1-10 secondary rhinaria with its longest hairs 17-30 μm long. Marginal tubercles are usually absent from the abdomen. The siphunculi are about 2.3-3.1 times the length of the cauda with the swollen apical part nearly twice as thick as the basal part. The cauda is thick, with 7-9 hairs. The adult body length of of Amphorophora gei apterae is 2.2-3.9 mm.

Both images above copyright Alan Watson Featherstone all rights reserved.

Alate Amphorophora gei have the abdomen green with small marginal sclerites and narrow, not very dark, cross bands on the anterior part. Each antenna has 19-32 secondary rhinaria on segment III in a row over its whole length.

Amphorophora gei is most commonly found on the undersides of the leaves of water avens (Geum rivale) in moist shady places, although it does also occur on other Geum species. Sexual forms are thought to occur in autumn with overwintering eggs laid on Geum. The water avens aphid is found infrequently in Britain, but is widespread in continental Europe, and has been introduced to the USA.



Amphorophora idaei (Large raspberry aphid) Europe

The large raspberry aphid (Amphorophora idaei) only feeds on raspberry and the apterae (see first picture below) are usually greenish white or pale yellow (cf. Amphorophora rubi which is darker green and feeds on blackberry). The antennal terminal process is usually more than seven times the length of the last two segments of the rostrum. The siphunculi are slightly swollen on the apical part and 2.1 to 2.6 times the length of the cauda. The cauda is short and triangular. The body length of Amphorophora idaei apterae is 2.7-4.1 mm.

The alate Amphorophora idaei (see second picture above) is of similar size but has a brown head and thorax, and has the distal half of the siphunculi darkened.

The large raspberry aphid has a sexual stage in its life cycle and does not host alternate. Oviparae and winged males appear in October-November. Amphorophora idaei feeds on the underside of leaves of raspberry (Rubus idaei) and is found throughout Europe.



Amphorophora rubi (Large blackberry aphid) Europe, New Zealand

Amphorophora rubi apterae are pale green or yellowish green with pale siphunculi. Their antennal terminal process is usually less than seven times the length of last two segments of the rostrum. The third antennal segment bears 2-44 rhinaria with its longest hairs 26-48 µm (cf. Amphorophora gei which has the longest hairs on the third antennal segment 17-30 µm long). The siphunculi are slightly swollen on the apical part and 2.1 to 2.4 times the length of the cauda. The cauda is triangular. The body length of Amphorophora rubi apterae is 2.2-4.7 mm.

The alate Amphorophora rubi has the marginal sclerites indistinct or absent, and the siphunculi are dusky.

The large blackberry aphid does not host alternate. It feeds on the underside of leaves of blackberry (Rubus fruticosus agg.) and related Rubus species, but not on raspberry (Rubus idaei). Amphorophora rubi is found throughout Europe and has been introduced to New Zealand.



Whilst we make every effort to ensure that identifications are correct, we cannot absolutely warranty their accuracy. We have mostly made 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


  •  Blackman, R.L. & Eastop, V.F. (2006). Aphids on the world's herbaceous plants and shrubs. Vols 1 and 2. John Wiley & Sons.

  •  Heie, O.E. (1980-1995). The Aphidoidea, Hemiptera, of Fennoscandia and Denmark. (Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica) E.J. Brill, London


Identification requests

David Fenwick, 4 July 2013, [bramble aphid] Parasite

Haven't ID'd the aphid yet, but on bramble so may be obvious, but have just seen this aphid parasite on going through the images, thought you'd appreciate seeing it.

Image copyright all rights reserved.

Bob, Influentialpoints:

  • Re aphid on bramble, it appears to be Amphorophora rubi. The mite is nice - we tend to get huge numbers of mites on some species, sometimes looking fairly 'mite-like' as yours, but others which appear smooth almost like eggs.

We've had a few mites on things here recently, one fly I had looked like it had a red tail until I zoomed in, it was carrying 5 mites; we've also had a few ichneumon spider parasites here. Found a mite on a willow aphid yesterday and managed to get as good an image as I could.



Nigel Gilligan, 17 March 2014, possible Phorodon humuli - Damson-Hop aphid

This may well be one for the bin. However, it does seem to have a few unusual details (at least from my viewpoint).

This one definitely has no associated plant, but was taken from somewhere in the garden & photo'd whilst in a plastic sample box. I assume it's a nymph.

It does look rather like the suggested species, and that is all I could find. What I think is a counter indicator is the fact that there are 2 darker stripes either side of the mid-line, not one in the middle and one either side. Also can't see from supplied photos if there are small black spots, which mine has.

The short blunt cauda seems right, and it does have siphunculi which seem right, curving slightly outward at the end. BUT, I also see that mine have a bulge towards the apex, which is not noted in the text. Unusual? It also has very fine tibia, and there are fine hooks on the feet. From a photo point of view, these are my most detailed photos ... let down by not having a plant.

We do have plums and damsons, but no hops! Seen 13/6/2012.

My thoughts here, as a lay person, are that it would be great if there were lists of unusual features that make a species easy to ID from the rest. Just like it becomes easy to ID familiar species, simply because your brain short-cuts the process by noting the one salient feature that this species has, and no other (or at least no other looking vaguely like this). Does that sound useful? (but no doubt horrendous to compile!)

Images copyright Nigel Gilligan, all rights reserved.


Bob, Influentialpoints:

  • The difficulty with creating lists of features as you suggest is that there will always be exceptions - whilst the 'experienced' brain is very good at dealing with such exceptions, the only way we have to formalise the process is to do a key.

    Re your aphid, the key characteristic is the swollen siphunculi - which makes it (probably) Amphorophora or Hyperomyzus.

    If you have lots of bramble in the garden, it's most likely Amphorophora rubi (Large blackberry aphid)

Yes, we have plenty of blackberries, in fact masses of other soft fruit too.

Yes, I think my suggestion would probably create more problems than it would solve. But I did create my own check list with craneflies, noting things like there was only one with triangular shapes on its wings, one had spots in the wing centres, etc. It gives a shortcut to check out if it really does correspond to that species, rather than ploughing through hundreds of photos (the keys are generally tricky when you don't have a specimen). Oh what fun it is!