InfluentialPoints.com
Biology, images, analysis, design...
Aphids Find them How to ID AphidBlog
"It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important" (Sherlock Holmes)

Search this site

 

 

Genus Aphis

Aphis are very small to rather large aphids with a body that is broadly oval in shape and never very elongate. The dorsal body cuticle is membranous with a variable amount of dark sclerotic markings. Marginal tubercles are almost always present on the pronotum and on some of the abdominal segments. The siphunculi are more or less cylindrical or tapering, never distinctly swollen. The cauda is finger shaped, tongue shaped or bluntly subtriangular. The legs are variably pigmented, but rarely entirely dark.

There are about 500 species in the Aphis genus. Most species are have a sexual stage in the life cycle and pass the winter in the egg stage. Others reproduce parthenogenetically all year round especially in warmer climates. Aphis species feed on a great variety of different plants, but never on sedges (Cyperaceae) and very rarely on grasses (Poaceae). Some species alternate hosts seasonally between a woody primary host and a herbaceous summer host. But many species do not host alternate, instead spending the complete life cycle on one species of plant. Aphis species are frequently ant attended and many are important crop pests.

 

Aphis armata (Foxglove aphid)

The adult apterae of Aphis armata are black, rarely with any white wax spots (se first picture below). The middle abdominal tergites in apterae are usually without dark sclerotic bands, but they may have a few scattered sclerites, and the largest apterae may have segmental bands. The longest hairs on the hind femora and the tibiae are about twice as long as the least width of the tibiae. The ratio of the length of the apical rostral segment (RIV+V) to the length of the second hind tarsal segment is 1.04-1.25 (cf. Aphis fabae fabae for which this ratio is 0.88-1.10). The body length of Aphis armata apterae is 2.2-2.9 mm. Immatures often have discrete wax spots.

The alatae usually have the middle abdominal tergites segmentally banded (see second picture above). The oviparae have hardly any swelling of the hind tibiae (cf. Aphis fabae sensu lato, the oviparae of which have the hind tibiae strongly swollen - this is the only reliable characteristic to differentiate Aphis armata from all the Aphis fabae subspecies).

The permanent foxglove aphid does not host alternate. Aphis armata only feeds on foxglove (Digitalis purpurea). Sexual forms occur in autumn. The species has been found in several countries in Europe, but is probably under-recorded because of difficulties in identification. Other members of the Aphis fabae complex also feed on foxglove and can only be distinguished morphologically at the ovipara stage - which is not present for most of the year.

Read more...

 

Aphis ballotae (Horehound aphid)

Apterae of Aphis ballotae are dark grey-blue to mottled green. Their dorsum is membranous, sometimes with a small postsiphuncular sclerite. The siphunculi are black, and 1.33-1.95 times as long as the dark finger-shaped cauda.. The body length is 1.0-2.0 mm. Aphis ballotae is a member of the Aphis frangulae complex, difficult to distinguish from other members except by biology and host plant.

The alate Aphis ballotae has rather large marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites, short bars across tergites 7-8 and usually a conspicuous rather squarish sclerite on tergite 6 between the siphunculi.

Aphis ballotae lives on the stems and undersides of leaves of Ballota spp. especially Ballota nigra (horehound) causing slight downward leaf-curl in early summer. It does not host alternate. Sexual forms occur in autumn and the males are alate. The horehound aphid is found throughout Europe (except Scandinavia), and eastward to Crimea, Iran and Turkey.

Read more...

 

Aphis brunellae (Self-heal aphid)

Apterae of Aphis brunellae are pale yellow, sometimes with a mid-dorsal suffusion of dark green. They are not wax powdered. In small specimens (body length less than 1.2 mm) the number of antennal segments may be reduced from 6 to 5. The abdominal dorsum is membranous with little or no sclerotic banding. The hairs on the anterior surface of the femora are shorter than the least width of the tibia. The siphunculi are dusky or dark and are 0.92 -1.90 times the length of the pale cauda. The body length of Aphis brunellae apterae is 0.98-1.45 mm.

Aphis brunellae lives up the stems or hidden among the flower bracts of self-heal (Prunella vulgaris). It is attended by ants - the colony we found had been tented over with soil particles. It does not host alternate and sexual forms appear in autumn. The self-heal aphid is rare in Britain, being previously only recorded from Buckingham and Cambridge, but now also known from East Sussex (InfluentialPoints, Aug. 2015). Aphis brunellae is widespread in Europe and western Siberia.

Read more...

 

Aphis callunae (Heather aphid)

Aphis callunae is a small rather stout dark brown aphid which appears pinkish because of the powdering of wax. Blackman describes immature Aphis callunae as 'greenish' in life, but we have found them to be reddish brown (see below). The dorsal cuticle is strongly reticulate. The abdominal tergites are usually only banded on tergites 7-8. The siphunculi are very short, only 0.64-0.79 times the length of the cauda. The body length of Aphis callunae apterae is about 1.7 times the body width (in live specimens), with an absolute body length of 1.0-1.4 mm.

The heather aphid does not host alternate. Sexual forms occur in autumn. Aphis callunae feeds on heather (Calluna vulgaris) and is reported to live on old straggling plants typical of woodland clearings and margins. Aphis callunae is found over much of western, northern & central Europe, and has also been recorded from Canada.

Read more...

 

Aphis chloris (St John's wort aphid)

Aphis chloris (St John's wort aphid, Hypericum aphid) is rather bright green, pale yellow-green or dark green and is a member of Aphis frangula group. It has dark siphunculi but a rather pale cauda. The abdominal dorsum is usually entirely membranous with few if any sclerotized areas. Trochantral hairs are short and all femoral hairs are much shorter than the least tibial width. The body length of Aphis chloris apterae is 1.0-1.8 mm. The alate has dusky marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites and bands across tergites 7-8 or 6-8.

There are taxonomic problems surrounding this aphid. Stroyan (1984) provided a detailed description of Aphis chloris and stated that it lived in ant-attended colonies at stem bases of Hypericum perforatum just below the soil surface or occasionally on aerial parts. But he noted another 'as yet undescribed' species found several times on Hypericum androsaemum and Hypericum calycinum which differed from Aphis chloris in having longer trochantral hairs. Blackman covers the undescribed species as 'Aphis sp. (Stroyan 1984,124)'.

We are awaiting an image of this species...

The St John's Wort aphid does not host alternate. It lives on Hypericum spp. especially St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum).

 

Aphis commensalis (Waxy buckthorn aphid)

Adult apterae of Aphis commensalis are darkish grey-green with a heavy greyish wax coating (see first picture below). The abdominal dorsum has no pigmented sclerites except for faint narrow bands across tergites 7-8. Small marginal tubercles are present on the first and seventh abdominal tergites. Hairs on the tibiae are long and fine, the longest on the hind tibia being 1.7-2.4 times the least width of the tibia. The dusky siphunculi are rather short being only 0.9-1.2 times as long as the cauda. The cauda is short and blunt. Body length of the adult Aphis commensalis aptera is 0.9-1.7 mm.

Images copyright Dr László Érsek, all rights reserved.

The waxy buckthorn aphid lives on purging buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica). Early generations cause leaf curl galls on the young foliage of its host as shown in the second picture above. From midsummer onwards they are found in abandoned leaf-edge fold galls of the psyllid Trichochermes walkeri. Apterous males and oviparae occur in October, and eggs are laid within the psyllid gall. Aphis commensalis is a rare species in Britain, known only from Cambridgeshire and Warwickshire. Elsewhere in Europe it is found in Germany, Poland, Austria and Russia.

Read more...

 

Aphis coronillae (Clover aphid, Medick aphid)

The aptera of Aphis coronillae is dark brown to brownish green with a more or less shiny black dorsal shield and no wax powdering. The shield extends over segments 1-6 inclusive, but is weakened by membranous lines between some of the anterior segments. The shield is reticulated, a feature formerly only thought to be visible in slide mounted specimens, but also clearly shown in our photo of the live insect (see first picture below). Abdominal tergites 1-4 and 7 regularly bear very protuberant, dome-shaped marginal tubercles (cf. Aphis craccivora where tergites 2-6 are usually without marginal tubercles, or rarely with 1-3 small ones). Nearly all the hairs on the legs are very short. The body length of adult Aphis coronillae apterae is 1.3-2.2 mm.

Immatures range from greenish-yellow (the youngest) to reddish brown (fourth instars). Aphis coronillae alatae have 3-9 secondary rhinaria on antennal segment III, and 0-2 on segment IV.

Aphis coronillae lives on the basal parts of certain Leguminosae / Fabaceae, especially clovers (Trifolium) and medicks (Medicago). It does not host alternate. Sexual forms appear in September. The males are mostly apterous, but are occasionally brachypterous or alate. Aphis coronillae is usually attended by and sheltered by ants. It is widely distributed in Europe, and is also found in west Siberia.

Read more...

 

Aphis craccivora (Cowpea aphid)

The aptera of Aphis craccivora is dark brown with (usually) a very solid black shiny carapace from the metanotum to abdominal tergite 6. Many North American and a few southern European Aphis craccivora populations have a reduced sclerotic shield. The longest hair on the third antennal segment is usually 0.5-0.6 times the basal diameter of that segment (cf. Aphis pseudocomosa which has the longest hair on the third antennal segment 0.67-1.38 times the basal diameter of that segment). Their siphunculi very rarely have any trace of constriction before the flange, and are 1.2-2.2 times the length of the cauda (cf. Aphis loti which has the siphunculi 0.8-1.5 times the length of the cauda). The cauda has the distal part tapering and is 0.09-0.13 times body length (cf. Aphis loti which has the cauda finger-like, almost parallel sided on the distal part). The body length is 1.16-2.3 mm.

Aphis craccivora alatae have the dorsal shield broken up into segmental bands with large marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites. Immatures are lightly dusted in wax.

Aphis craccivora prefers plants in the Fabaceae (beans, peas and groundnuts), but it is highly polyphagous and has been found on many plant species. It feeds on the young shoots, leaves, flowers and fruits, and is strongly ant attended. In most places reproduction is entirely parthenogenetic with no sexual stage in the life cycle, but sexual morphs have been recorded from Germany and India. Aphis craccivora is a vector of several viruses including broad bean mosaic virus, cucumber mosaic virus and groundnut rosette virus. The cowpea aphid has a cosmopolitan distribution. It is not very common in cool temperate countries, but can be abundant in warm-temperate and tropical regions.

Read more...

 

Aphis crepidis (Hawk's-beard root aphid)

Aphis crepidis apterae are dark bluish-green to yellow-green, and are not wax powdered (see first picture below). The dorsum of Aphis crepidis is membranous apart from a rather faint short dusky spinal bar on tergite 8, and marginal tubercles are prominent. The femora and proximal tibial hairs are shorter than the least width of the tibia. The siphunculi are dark. The cauda is dusky and bears 6-11 hairs (cf. Aphis hypochoeridis which has 4-8 caudal hairs). The body length of Aphis crepidis is 1.2-2.0 mm.

Aphis crepidis is very closely related to, and apparently morphologically indistinguishable from, Aphis taraxacicola which feeds on dandelion, not hawksbeard.

The hawksbeard root aphid lives in ant shelters (see second picture above)at the base of rough hawksbeard (Crepis biennis) and smooth hawksbeard (Crepis capillaris). It does not host alternate and sexual forms have been found in September. Aphis crepidis is very little known in Britain (only Cambridge and Derby), but the species is perhaps overlooked, a common problem for all the root feeders. It has recently been reported from Wales and now (our own observations) from Rye Harbour in East Sussex. Aphis crepidis is found throughout Europe, apart from the north, and extends into Iran.

Read more...

 

Aphis cytisorum (Broom aphid, Laburnum aphid)

Aphis cytisorum is a very dark green aphid which may appear greyish because of the strong wax secretion (see pictures below). The adult aptera has a dark sclerotized dorsal abdominal shield, which is often rather fragmented and variable in size, and is especially reduced in small specimens. The dark sclerotic areas are strongly reticulate. There are areas of membranous cuticle along the side bounded by the mid-dorsal shield and the intersegmental muscle sclerites. The apical rostral segment (RIV+V) is 0.97 to 1.3 times the length of the second hind tarsal segment (HT2). Marginal tubercles may be present. The longest tibial hairs are a little longer than the least width of the hind tibiae. The siphunculi and cauda are dark, but the antennae and tibiae are mostly pale. The siphunculi are 1.2 to 2.2 times as long as the cauda. The body length of apterae is 1.4-2.5 mm.

Alates have the dorsal shield broken up into segmental bands, marginal sclerites and postsiphuncular sclerites, with areas of membranous cuticle along side the segmented bands on the abdominal tergites.

There are two subspecies of Aphis cytisorum

  • Aphis cytisorum sarothamni (broom aphid) which feeds on broom (first picture at top of page).
  • Aphis cytisorum cytisorum (laburnum aphid) which feeds on laburnum (second picture at top of page).

Aphis cytisorum does not host alternate. The laburnum aphid (Aphis cytisorum cytisorum) lives on the leaves, stems and seed pods of laburnum (Laburnum anagyroides) or Spanish broom (Spartium junceum). The broom aphid (Aphis cytisorum sarothamni) lives on broom (Cytisus scoparius). Both subspecies are usually ant attended. Sexual forms occur in autumn. Aphis cytisorum is found throughout most of Europe eastward to Russia and Turkey. It is also found in North Africa, China, North America and parts of South America.

Read more...

 

Aphis epilobiaria (Waxy willowherb aphid)

The adult aptera of Aphis epilobiaria is a reddish-brown to blackish-brown or blackish green, but the colour is mostly masked by a striking pattern of dense pleural wax bands (see first picture below). These converge on the thorax and posterior tergites to occupy most of the width of the dorsum, leaving a spindle-shaped area of the mid-dorsum without wax. The abdominal dorsum of the apterous Aphis epilobiaria is membranous with only a dusky narrow band across tergite 8 and sometimes 7. There are small marginal tubercles on tergites 1 and 7. The apical rostral segment (RIV+V) is 1.3-1.6 times the length of segment II of the hind tarsus and has 6 or more subsidiary hairs. The second tarsal joint is almost entirely smooth (cf. Aphis epilobii where it is ridged). The siphunculi are 1.0-1.6 times the length of the cauda and often bear a few fine hairs. The siphunculi are usually quite pale, sometimes a little dusky. The cauda is quite dark. The body length of apterae is 2.2-2.7 mm.

The alate viviparous Aphis epilobiaria (see second picture above) is reddish brown and usually has postsiphuncular and small marginal sclerites but no dorsal cross bands in front of the siphunculi. The ovipara is reddish brown or greenish black with the hind tibia more or less distinctly swollen on the basal half.

The waxy willowherb aphid does not host alternate. Sexual forms occur in autumn. It feeds on the shoot and flowers of the great willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum) and on other Epilobium species including marsh willowherb (Epilobium palustre), spear-leaved willowherb (Epilobium lanceolatum) and square-stalked willowherb (Epilobium tetragonum). Aphis epilobiaria is not usually ant attended. It is known from Britain and a few western European countries.

Read more...

 

Aphis epilobii (Willowherb aphid)

Aphis epilobii is a blackish-green to reddish-brown aphid which appears dark-grey to pinkish-brown because of the rather uniform powdering of wax (see pictures below). The apical rostral segment (RIV+V) is 1.28-1.55 times the length of segment II of the hind tarsus The abdominal dorsum of Aphis epilobii is membranous with only a dusky narrow band across tergite 8 and sometimes 7. There are small conical marginal tubercles on tergites 1 and 7 (visible if you can expand the first micrograph image below), but not on tergites 2-6 (cf. Aphis grossulariae which has marginal tubercles on most tergites). The siphunculi and basal parts of the antennae are pale, but the cauda is dusky or dark. The siphunculi are 1-1.6 times the length of the cauda. The body length of Aphis epilobii apterae is 1.3-2.1 mm.

The alate (see second picture below) has marginal, postsiphuncular and small marginal sclerites, but no dorsal cross bands in front of the siphunculi. The antennal terminal process is about 3 times the length of the basal part of antennal segment 6. Antennal segment III has 30-32 secondary rhinaria, segment IV has 17, and V has 7-9.

The ovipara is reddish brown or greenish black with the hind tibia more or less distinctly swollen on the basal half. The winged male (see pictures below) is dark but has an entirely membranous dorsum.

The willowherb aphid does not host alternate. Sexual forms occur in autumn. It feeds on broad-leaved willowherb (Epilobium montanum) or more rarely other Epilobium species. Aphis epilobii is not usually ant attended. It is widely distributed throughout Europe.

Read more...

 

Aphis epipactis (Helleborine aphid)

Adult apterae of Aphis epipactis are very dark green, almost sooty black, as in the first picture below. The terminal process of antennal segment VI is 2.7-2.9 times the length of its base. The femora and tibial hairs are much longer than the least width of the tibiae, making Aphis epipactis a member of the "long-haired black-aphis group", which includes Aphis ilicis and Aphis viburni. The siphunculi are 1.0-1.1 times the length of the cauda. The body length is 1.43-1.69 mm (estimated allowing for effects of dehydration on the type specimens).

Note: There are no satisfactory distinguishing characters from other members of the "long-haired black aphis group". Aphis epipactis may well be synonymous with Aphis viburni, or possibly Aphis ilicis.

If we accept Aphis epipactis is a valid species, it only feeds on helleborines, especially marsh helleborine (Epipactis palustris). If Aphis epipactis is instead Aphis viburni, which is using helleborines (Epipactis) as a summer host, then its winter host is Viburnum opulus. Sexual forms presumably develop in autumn. Aphis epipactis has been recorded in several counties in Britain and over most of Europe.

Read more...

 

Aphis evonymi (Spindle aphid)

The adult aptera of Aphis evonymi (see first picture below) is a reddish- to chocolate-brown with broad dark sclerotic bands across the pronotum and mesonotum, and narrower ones across abdominal tergites 7-8. It consistently lacks marginal tubercles on abdominal tergites 2-4 (cf. the similarly coloured Aphis ilicis and Aphis viburni which tend to have marginal tubercles on abdominal tergites 2-4). The longest hairs on the third antennal segment is 2-3 times as long as the basal diameter of that segment (cf. Aphis fabae which has longest hairs on the third antennal segment 0.6-2.4 times as long as the basal diameter of that segment). The middle and hind femora are mostly dark and tibiae are darkened on the apical quarter. The body length of Aphis evonymi adult aptera is 1.7-2.9 mm.

Alate Aphis evonymi have a rather well developed series of transverse segmental bands on abdominal tergites as well as larger marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites (see picture above right). Immature forms are a lighter reddish-brown and may have discrete pleural wax spots (see second picture above). From our observations the wax spots are much more prominent in alatiform immatures than in future apterous forms.

The spindle aphid does not host alternate. It feeds on spindle (Euonymus europaeus). Apterous males and oviparae are produced in the autumn, and eggs are laid on the stems of spindle. Aphis evonymi occurs in several European countries.

Read more...

 

Aphis euphorbiae (Spurge aphid)

Aphis euphorbiae apterae are dark blackish brown and are rather strongly wax powdered. They have a dark dorsal shield (clearly visible in the first picture below) which is confined to a rather rectangular mid-dorsal area. The cauda is rather slender and tapering. Marginal tubercles are protuberant and often present on abdominal tergite 6. Aphis euphorbiae body length is 1.7-2.1 mm.

Guest images copyright Jivko Nakev, all rights reserved.

Aphis euphorbiae alates have short bands across abdominal tergites 6-8 as well as marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites. Most of the rest of the dorsum is membranous.

Aphis euphorbiae feeds on the upper parts of the stems of Euphorbia cyparissias and a few other Euphorbia species where it is usually ant attended (see second picture above). It is usually assumed that the species produces sexual forms in autumn, but such forms have apparently not yet been described. Reproduction may therefore be entirely parthenogenetic. The spurge aphid is hardly known in Britain, but is found throughout mainland Europe, the Mediterranean basin, Africa, and South-west and Central Asia. Aphis euphorbiae has been accidentally introduced to Australia and North America.

Read more...

 

Aphis fabae (Black Bean aphid)

The Aphis fabae adult aptera is matt black or very dark brown, sometimes with a distinct greenish hue. It has a variable abdominal sclerotic pattern - confined to abdominal tergites 6-8 in smaller apterae, but broken bands are present in larger ones. Marginal tubercles are protuberant but small. The antennae usually have segments III-IV and the base of V quite pale. The longest femoral and tibial hairs are longer than the least width of the tibia. Their siphunculi and cauda are dark. The black bean aphid immatures (see second picture below) often have discrete white wax spots, as do sometimes the adults. The body length of Aphis fabae adult apterae is 1.2-2.9 mm.

There are several subspecies of Aphis fabae:

  • The nominate subspecies Aphis fabae fabae overwinters on spindle (Euonymus europaeus) and host alternates to broad beans (Vicia faba). It also migrates to poppies (Papaver spp.) as well as Chenopodium species and beet (Beta vulgaris). Aphis fabae fabae will not colonise thistle (Cirsium) nor black nightshade (Solanum).
  • Aphis fabae cirsiiacanthoidis overwinters on spindle and host alternates to thistle (Cirsium arvense).
  • Aphis fabae mordvilkoi overwinters on spindle (Euonymus europaeus) and host alternates to burdock (Arctium).
  • Aphis evonymi does not host alternate, but spends all year on spindle (Euonymus europaeus). Some authorities have assigned this aphid full species status as Aphis evonymi, but other still treat it as a subspecies Aphis fabae evonymi
  • Aphis solanella overwinters on spindle (Euonymus europaeus), and host alternates to black nightshade (Solanum nigrum). It used to be called Aphis fabae solanella, but has now been assigned full species status.

Although one can tentatively assign Aphis fabae on the plants above to a particular subspecies, they also colonise a huge range of other plants (for example many umbellifers) which are not associated with a particular subspecies. Also some hosts, such as docks (Rumex spp), seem to be acceptable to all Aphis fabae subspecies.

The black bean aphid host alternates between spindle (Euonymus europaeus) as the primary host and many herbaceous plant species as secondary hosts. Sexual forms occur in autumn. Aphis fabae is found throughout the northern continents, and has been introduced to many tropical and subtropical countries where it may reproduce parthenogenetically all year round. In Europe there is a complex of sibling species or subspecies which can only be distinguished by their choice of secondary host coupled with transfer experiments.

Read more...

 

Aphis farinosa (Small Willow aphid)

Aphis farinosa apterae are quite small, and are green mottled with yellow-orange. The antennal terminal process is 1.6-2.3 times as long as the base of antennal segment VI. The abdominal dorsum in apterae is usually entirely pale and membranous with fairly numerous protuberant, hemispherical or teat-shape marginal tubercles on the tergites. The siphunculi are long and pale with a slightly dusky tip and the cauda is distinctly darker. The siphunculi of the aptera are 1.74-2.95 times as long as the cauda. The body length of Aphis farinosa apterae is 1.6-2.5 mm.

The vivivparous alates (see second picture above) are dark green, and their siphunculi are more or less dusky. Immature alatae (mainly fourth instar) often have white wax spots on the dorsum. Their oviparae are dull green, but the young nymphs and the apterous males are reddish orange.

The small willow aphid is fairly common, forming dense colonies on the young shoots of willows (Salix spp.) especially sallow (Salix caprea) in spring and early summer. Aphis farinosa do not host alternate and are attended by ants. They have a sexual stage in the life cycle, with oviparae and males appearing from July onwards, although occasionally populations of viviparae persist until August or September. Aphis farinosa occurs throughout northern temperate parts of the world (North America, Europe & Asia) and in South America (Argentina).

Read more...

 

Aphis frangulae (Alder buckthorn - willowherb aphid)

Aphis frangulae apterae are generally dark green or blue-green, sometimes mottled (see pictures of apterae on the primary and secondary hosts below). Their abdominal sclerotic pattern is variable - it is usually confined to abdominal tergites 6-8 in smaller apterae, but broken bands are present in larger adults. The siphunculi are dusky or dark and are 0.85-2.16 times the length of the pale or dusky cauda. The body length of Aphis frangulae apterae is 0.9-2.4 mm.

Aphis frangulae alatae have 3-16 secondary rhinaria on the third antennal segment, 0-8 on the fourth segment and 0-3 on the fifth.

In Europe, several subspecies are recognised:

  • Aphis frangulae frangulae is the nominate subspecies which, in Europe, host alternates between alder buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula = Frangula alnus) as the primary host and rosebay willowherb (Epilobium angustifolium) as the secondary host. Additional secondary hosts are shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) and yellow loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris).
  • Aphis frangulae beccabungae host alternates from alder buckthorn to speedwell (Veronica beccabunga) and to potato (Solanum tuberosum) and various Lamiaceae.
  • Aphis frangulae testacea (only found in Germany) is monoecious on alder buckthorn.

Outside Europe, and for some populations within Europe, populations can usually only be identified as "Aphis frangulae group". Sexual forms occur in autumn. The closely related Aphis gossypii (cotton or cucumber aphid) is a cosmopolitan polyphagous pest of warm climates, and is a greenhouse pest in cooler climates.

Read more...

 

Aphis gossypii (Melon aphid, Cotton aphid)

Wingless females of Aphis gossypii are usually medium-sized and blackish green or green mottled with dark green (see first picture below). In hot conditions or when crowded they are smaller and are a very pale whitish yellow. The dorsum has no dark sclerotized markings. The longest hairs on the third antennal segment are 0.3-0.5 times the basal diameter of that segment. The terminal process of the last antennal segment is 1.7-3.2 times the length of the base of that segment. The apical segment of the rostrum is 1.1 to 1.5 times the length of segment 2 of the hind tarsus. Marginal tubercles are only consistently present on abdominal tergites 1 and 7. The siphunculi are dark. The cauda is usually paler than the siphunculi and bears 4-8 hairs. The body length of adult Aphis gossypii apterae ranges from 0.9-1.8 mm.

Aphis gossypii alates (see second picture above) have 6-12 secondary rhinaria distributed on the third antennal segment and usually none on the fourth.

The melon or cotton aphid is highly polyphagous and does not usually host alternate, reproducing all year round on its chosen host. In temperate climates it is most often seen in glasshouses on cucurbits (cucumbers and marrows) and begonias, and in gardens on ornamental Hypericum species. In the tropics Aphis gossypii is a major pest of cotton. It is distributed almost worldwide, and is particularly abundant in the tropics.

Read more...

 

Aphis grossulariae (Gooseberry - willowherb aphid)

The adult aptera of Aphis grossulariae (see first picture below) is dull green to dark green and is slightly to moderately wax powdered. The antennae are shorter than the body, and the hairs on the third antennal segment are straight or curved and at most 1-2 times the least width of that segment (cf. the very similar Aphis schneideri which has the hairs on the third antennal segment fine and wavy and conspicuously erect, 1.8-4.0 times the basal diameter of that segment). The abdominal dorsum is entirely membranous or at most has narrow dusky bands across tergites 7 & 8. Aphis grossulariae has marginal tubercles present on at least some of abdominal tergites 2-6 (cf. Aphis epilobii and Aphis epilobiaria which have no marginal tubercles on abdominal tergites 2-6.) The siphunculi and legs are pale except for the tibial apices and tarsi which are dusky. The longest tibial hairs are greater than the least width of the hind tibia. The cauda is pale or slightly dusky. The body length of adult apterae is 1.2-2.1 mm.

The alate (see second picture above) has the head and thorax black, the abdomen green with dark stripes, the siphunculi and antennae dark and the cauda pale. Immature future alatae have paired pale white wax patches on the dorsum. In Europe there is evidence of natural hybridisation with Aphis schneideri.

The gooseberry - willowherb aphid host alternates between gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa) where it curls the leaves and willowherb (Epilobium species). Certain members of the Onagaceae (Clarkia, Fuchsia, Oenothera) can also be used as secondary hosts. Sexual forms occur in autumn. Aphis grossulariae occurs throughout most of Europe to Russia and central Asia.

Read more...

 

Aphis hederae (Ivy aphid)

The apterae of Aphis hederae (see first picture below) are dark greenish or reddish brown although immatures are paler. They are supposedly not waxy, although the immatures here appear to have a wax 'bloom'. The abdominal sclerotic pattern is mostly confined to a band on abdominal tergites 6-8. The body length of Aphis hederae apterae is 1.4-2.5 mm.

The alate ( see second picture above) has strong transverse dark bands on most tergites.

The ivy aphid does not host alternate. It feeds on ivy (Hedera helix) living on the young shoots and foliage (Stroyan, 1984). Aphis hederae can also be found on various house plants in the Araliaceae such a Fatsia and Schefflera. Sexual forms occur in autumn with apterous or alate males. It occurs throughout Europe, the Middle East and parts of Asia. It is also recorded from North America, South Africa and New Zealand.

Read more...

 

Aphis hypochoeridis (Cats ear root aphid)

Apterae of Aphis hypochoeridis are bright yellow to pale greenish yellow, often with orange hues (see first picture below). The antennal terminal process is 1.5-2.7 times the length of the base of antennal segment VI. The abdominal dorsum is entirely pale or with dusky bands across tergites 7-8 only. The siphunculi are dark. They are 3.5-7.1 times their midlength diameters, and 0.9 to 1.6 times the length of the elongated pale or dusky finger-shaped cauda. The body length of adult apterae of Aphis hypochoeridis is 0.7-1.6 mm.

The Aphis hypochoeridis alate (see second picture above) has marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites, dusky bands on tergites 7-8, and median sclerites on some or all of tergites 1-6. They have 5-8 secondary rhinaria on antennal segment III and 0-4 on antennal segment IV.

The cat's-ear root aphid lives on the root collar, the underside of radical leaves and up the lower part of the stem of Hypochaeris radicata (Cat's Ear). Aphis hypochoeridis do not host alternate. They have a sexual stage in the life cycle with oviparae and males appearing in autumn. They are usually 'tented over' (with earth) by Myrmica or Lasius ants (see below). Aphis hypochoeridis is widely distributed in Britain and throughout Europe.

Read more...

 

Aphis idaei (Small raspberry aphid)

Viviparous apterae of Aphis idaei are small mottled green and yellow aphids with a rather even wax pulverulence giving an overall pale green colour. The abdominal dorsum in apterae is quite pale. Aphis idaei is characterized by the combination of long very slender dusky siphunculi and a short thick blunt cauda. The siphunculi of Aphis idaei apterae are 2.4-3.3 times as long as the cauda. In midsummer their progeny develop into dwarf apterae which are pale cream and live dispersed between the veins of the underside of the leaves. The body length of apterae is only 1.3-2.2 mm (dwarfs 0.8-0.9 mm).

Alatae (see pictures above) are similarly coloured to the spring apterae, but have dark marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites and bands across tergites 7-8. Their siphunculi are 2.1-2.7 times the length of the cauda, and the body length is 1.5-1.9 mm.

The small raspberry aphid does not host alternate. It feeds on raspberry (Rubus idaeus) causing strong leaf curl in early summer. It also occurs on loganberry. Aphis idaei considered one of the most damaging pests of raspberry canes (Gordon et al., 1997). Sexual forms occur in autumn with apterous males. It occurs through most of Europe, west Siberia and in New Zealand and North America.

Read more...

 

Aphis ilicis (Holly aphid)

Aphis ilicis apterae are dark olive-brown, reddish-brown or greyish-brown. The sclerotic dark banding of the dorsum is variable - it is confined to the latter abdominal tergites in small apterae, but there are broken bands on some anterior tergites in larger apterae. Aphis ilicis siphunculi are black, rather short and slightly tapered distally. The siphunculi are 1.15-1.67 times longer than the dark, blunt, finger-shaped cauda. Aphis ilicis is a member of the Aphis fabae group, so immatures may have white pulverulence. Adult apterae have a body length of 1.7-2.9 mm.

The alate has variable banding on the abdominal dorsum, but when present it is more regular than in the aptera.

The holly aphid lives in dense colonies on young shoots and undersides of young leaves of holly (Ilex aquifolium). Attacked leaves curl towards their undersides (see second picture above). Later in the year, when the leaves have matured, aphids can be found colonizing the berry petioles. Sexual forms with winged males are recorded from July onwards. It is usually attended by ants. Aphis ilicis is widely distributed in western and northern Europe eastward to Turkey.

Read more...

 

Aphis jacobaeae (Ragwort aphid)

The apterae of Aphis jacobaeae (see first picture below) are dark green and are not wax powdered. The thorax has rather extensive dark lateral sclerites, whilst the abdomen has small marginal sclerites on tergites 2-4, small sclerites just behind the siphunculi, dark bands across tergites 7-8, sometimes a small median sclerite on 6, and dark intersegmental muscle sclerites. The marginal tubercles are prominent. The siphunculi have a conspicuous apical flange. The legs are dark except for the extreme bases of their femora. This feature will usually distinguish Aphis jacobaeae from Aphis fabae which also occurs on ragwort, but has pale tibiae. The body length of Aphis jacobaeae apterae is 1.8-2.2 mm.

The alate Aphis jacobaeae has a similar pattern of sclerites on the abdomen, but the marginal and post-siphuncular sclerites are larger.

The ragwort aphid does not host alternate. Sexual forms occur in autumn. It feeds on ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) living basally or higher on the stem or on the flowers. They are usually attended by ants which may build earth tents over the aphids. Aphis jacobaeae occurs in western and central Europe and into Russia.

Read more...

 

Aphis lambersi (Wild carrot root aphid)

Adult apterae (see first picture below) of Aphis lambersi are blackish-green, dark mottled green, or (less commonly) purplish brown. Aphis lambersi resembles (but is not especially closely related to) other dark green species such as Aphis plantaginis and Aphis violae. The dorsal abdominal sclerotic pattern consists of a dark band across tergites 7-8, small postsiphuncular sclerites and dark intersegmental sclerites. Marginal tubercles on the aptera are prominent and mostly subconical in shape (see micrograph below). Leg hairs are short, mostly much shorter than the least width of the tibiae. The siphunculi are dark and relatively short being 1.06 - 1.75 times the length of the cauda. The body length of the Aphis lambersi aptera is 1.3 - 2.2 mm.

Alatae (see second picture above) are shining blackish green and have additional marginal sclerites, larger postsiphuncular sclerites and rudimentary bars on tergites 1-2. The males are apterous and the ovipara has slightly thickened hind tibiae.

Wild carrot root aphids live on the root collar or in basal leaf sheaths of wild carrot (Daucus carota) tented over with soil particles and plant debris by ants. Aphis lambersi is widespread and fairly common in southern England, and throughout Europe.

Read more...

 

Aphis lamiorum (Dead-nettle aphid)

Aphis lamiorum cause downward leaf-curl on the shoot apices of dead-nettles (Lamium spp.), and dense colonies may also cause distortion and yellow blotching of the leaves (see first picture below). The adult apterae are dark blue-green to green, usually paler green on the posterior dorsum, and not wax covered, although there may be traces of wax on the dorsal cuticle (see second picture below). The antennal terminal process is 1.8-3.2 times the length of the base of antennal segment VI. The fused apical rostral segment (RIV+V) is 1.20-1.43 times the length of the second hind tarsal segment (HTII). The abdominal dorsum is membranous, with no sclerotic bands on tergites I-VI, but sometimes with small postsiphuncular sclerites. There are 0-5 marginal tubercles on abdominal tergites II-VI, with a mean of 1.4 (cf. Aphis frangulae which has 0-3 marginal tubercles on those tergites, usually 0). The siphunculi are dark and are 1.67-1.95 the length of the cauda. The body length of the adult aptera is 1.6-2.2 mm. Aphis lamiorum is a member of the Aphis frangulae complex, and difficult to distinguish from other members except by biology and host plant. Specimens can only be accepted as authentic Aphis lamiorum (as opposed to Aphis frangulae beccabungae on its secondary host) if leaf curl is present, and if samples are found early in the year (both were true with our specimens), or contain fundatrices or sexuales.

The Aphis lamiorum alate (see third picture above) has a blue-green abdomen with rather large marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites. There are fragmented bands on abdominal tergites I & II, a squarish sclerite on tergite VI and short bars on the posterior tergites. Secondary rhinaria are distributed 6-19 on antennal segment III, and 0-7 on antennal segment IV. As expected, the alate resembles the Aphis frangulae alate.

Aphis lamiorum does not alternate, but remains year-round on dead-nettles (Lamium) species. Sexual forms, with an apterous male, have been found in Britain during August. The species has been recorded widely in Europe, albeit some records may be of the host-alternating Aphis frangulae beccabungae on their summer host.

Read more...

 

Aphis lantanae (Wayfaring Tree aphid)

The aptera of Aphis lantanae is dark greenish-brown, and is not wax-powdered (see first picture below). Larger specimens have dark bands across tergites 6-8 and shorter bars on some or most of the other tergites. Their cauda is rather short and bluntly tapering. The body length of apterae is 1.5-2.1 mm.

The alate of Aphis lantanae (see second picture above) has similar dark bands across most tergites as well as well developed marginal sclerites.

The wayfaring tree aphid does not host alternate. It feeds on wayfaring tree (Viburnum lantana) living in curled leaves, on young stems or under senescing leaves. Aphis lantanae is a local species in Britain previously only recorded in Kent and Hertford, and now East Sussex. In continental Europe it has been found in France, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Austria and Italy.

Read more...

 

Aphis longirostris (Sea plantain aphid)

Adult apterae of Aphis longirostris (see first picture below) are dark green to dull bluish green and are not wax powdered. The abdominal dorsum is entirely membranous, except sometimes for a faint dusky spinal band on tergite 8. The fused apical rostral segment (RIV+V) is 1.45-1.63 times the length of the second hind tarsal segment, markedly longer than is the case with Aphis plantaginis. The siphunculi are 0.94-1.64 times the length of the cauda, somewhat shorter than those of Aphis plantaginis. All the hairs on the legs are shorter than the least width of the hind tibiae, most very much so. The body length of the adult Aphis longirostris aptera is 1.0-1.8 mm.

Aphis longirostris alatae were previously unknown, but we have recently (in July 2016) photographed live alatae of Aphis longirostris at Keyhaven salt marshes in Hampshire (see second picture above). They are very dark green with prominent marginal tubercles.

The sea plantain aphid lives on the root collar and radical leaf bases of sea plantain (Plantago maritima) and buck's horn plantain (Plantago coronopus). They do not host alternate, but remain all year on plantain where they are tented over with sand particles by ants. In autumn they produce apterous males and oviparae. They are widely distributed in coastal counties in Britain, but little recorded. Aphis longirostris have been found in several countries in continental Europe, as well as in west Siberia and Central Asia.

Read more...

 

Aphis loti (Bird's foot trefoil aphid)

Adult apterae of Aphis loti (see first picture below) have a solid shiny black dorsal carapace, extending from the metanotum to abdominal tergite 6 inclusive (cf. Aphis lotiradicis which never has a solid dorsal carapace and varies from being entirely membranous to having transverse bands across all tergites). Note that the black dorsa of adults that have been stored in alcohol turn dark brown rather than black, because one of the dark pigments dissolves in alcohol, turning the alcohol deep purple. This has led many authorities to (wrongly) describe Aphis loti adults as being 'warm dark brown' in life, rather than shiny black; immatures (see second picture above) are, however, reddish brown. Abdominal tergites 2-6 may bear 0-2 (exceptionally 3-4) marginal tubercles (cf. Aphis lotiradicis which has a total of 6-7 marginal tubercles). The apical rostral segment is 0.8-1.1 times as long as the second hind tarsal segment. The siphunculi are roughly imbricate, often with a slight constriction just before the flange. The cauda is rather elongate finger-shaped, not uniformly tapering from base to apex (cf. Aphis craccivora, which has the distal part tapering). The Aphis loti aptera adult body length of is 1.2-2.1 mm.

Aphis loti alates have broad separate bands across most or all abdominal tergites, extending over most of the tergite width, especially from the mid-dorsal tergites backwards. There are also large marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites.

Aphis loti lives in the shoot apices and flowers of bird's foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) and kidney vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria ) (cf. Aphis lotiradicis which is found on the roots and stems of bird's foot trefoil). It is usually attended by ants, but is not tented by them (cf. Aphis lotiradicis which is tented by ants). Apterous males and oviparae with swollen hind tibiae are produced in the autumn. Aphis loti is widely distributed in Britain and continental Europe.

Read more...

 

Aphis nasturtii (Buckthorn - Potato aphid)

The Aphis nasturtii aptera is rather bright pale green to yellowish-green in life and is not wax-powdered (see yellow aptera below in a mixed species colony of Aphis nasturtii and Aphis fabae). The abdominal dorsum is pale and membranous without dark bands or sclerites. The antenna barely exceeds half the body length. The siphunculi are usually rather pale sclerotic becoming a little darker towards the apex. The legs are dusky or rather pale - the apices of the tibiae are slightly darker as can be seen in the micrograph ventral view below. The body length of buckthorn - potato aphid apterae is 1.1-2.4 mm.

Aphis nasturtii alates (not shown) have some variably developed dorsal bands, but are always more lightly marked than Aphis frangulae alates. Immature Aphis nasturtii are green (see second picture above).

The buckthorn - potato aphid host alternates between common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) or alder buckthorn (Frangula alnus) as the primary host and many herbaceous plant species as secondary hosts, the most economically important of which is potato (Solanum tuberosum). Sexual forms occur in autumn. Aphis nasturtii is now of almost world-wide distribution.

Read more...

 

Aphis ochropus (Yellow teasel aphid)

Adult apterae of Aphis ochropus are yellow, yellowish-green or greenish yellow. The terminal process of antennal segment VI is 2.9-3.7 times the length of the base of that segment. The fused terminal segments of the rostrum (RIV+V) are 1.4-1.8 times the length of the second hind tarsal segment (HTII).The siphunculi are dark and are 2.00-2.86 times the length of the cauda. The cauda is pale (although in some of our specimens it appears dusky) with 7 hairs. The body length of the aptera of Aphis ochropus is 1.2-2.0 mm.

Alates of Aphis ochropus have 10-11 secondary rhinaria on the third antennal segment, and 2-3 rhinaria on the fourth segment.

The yellow teasel aphid does not host alternate. Aphis ochropus feeds on the basal leaflets and subterranean parts of teasel (Dipsacus sylvestris). It is attended by ants usually Lasius species. The species was first recorded in Britain in south Wales in 2009. Our finding of this species in East Sussex in July 2015 was the first record of the species in England. It is otherwise known mainly from central and eastern Europe.

Read more...

 

Aphis parietariae (Pellitory-of-the-wall aphid)

Aphis parietariae apterae range in colour from dark to light green, with pale yellowish summer dwarf apterae. The antennal tubercles are weakly developed. The apterae have bands across tergites 7-8 in larger specimens but the dorsum is otherwise unpigmented. The siphunculi are blackish, much darker than any other sclerotic part of the body. They are 1.0-1.5 times the length of the cauda, which bears 6-10 hairs. The body length of Aphis parietariae apterae is 0.9-1.7 mm.

Aphis parietariae alates have marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites, and a median sclerite on tergite 6 in addition to the bands on tergites 7 and 8 that are present on apterae. The antennae of alates have 4-8 secondary rhinaria on the third segment, 0-2 on the fourth, and none on the fifth.

The pellitory-of-the-wall aphid does not host alternate. It lives in dense colonies on stems, under leaves and on inflorescences of Parietaria species. Sexual forms occur in autumn - the males are apterous. Aphis parietariae is found across Europe, as well as in north Africa and the Middle East.

Read more...

 

Aphis passeriniana (Sage aphid)

Adult apterae of Aphis passeriniana (see first picture below) are mottled dull-green to dark-green in life, with a fairly marked wax bloom. The abdominal dorsum is wholly pale and membranous or, at most, with faint traces of dusky bands across tergites 7-8. The apical rostral segment (RIV+V) is conspicuously long and the second hind tarsal segment (HTII) is conspicuously short, giving a ratio of 1.54-2.02. Aphis passeriniana siphunculi range from pale to dark (see pictures of apterae below), and are tapering, rather long and stout. The siphunculi are 0.80 - 1.25 times the length of the relatively short and bluntly finger-shaped cauda. Hairs on the legs are rather short, mostly distinctly shorter than the least width of the hind tibiae. The body length of adult apterae ranges from 1.16-1.78 mm

The alates (see second picture above) have marginal and (conspicuous) postsiphuncular sclerites and bands across tergites 7-8.

The sage aphid lives up growing shoots, in curled leaves and among the flowers of Salvia species, especially Salvia officinalis (garden sage), but also Salvia splendens (scarlet-flowered sage) and Salvia verticillata (lilac sage). Aphis passeriniana does not host alternate. It is assumed to overwinter as eggs on sage, but sexual forms have not been described. The only previous British record of Aphis passeriniana was in 1955, in the University Botanic Garden in Cambridge, so our record appears to constitute the second known occurrence in Britain. This is mainly a southern European species with records from Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary and Greece, as well as Iraq and Israel.

 

Aphis nr. picridis (=Aphis cornutus sp. nov., Horned oxtongue aphid)

Adult apterae of this possible new species on Picris are bright yellow to yellow-green (first image below) with dark siphunculi and cauda. The antennal terminal process is 3.5-4.1 times the length of the base of segment 6 (cf. Aphis picridis where the antennal terminal process is 2.0-2.8 longer than the base). The rostrum is very long - in two specimens 0.46 and 0.49 times the body length (cf. Aphis picridis in which the rostrum is 0.35-0.46 times the body length). There are exceptionally large prothoracic tubercles - hence the English name of horned oxtongue aphid. There are also quite large marginal tubercles on abdominal tergites 1 and 7, and also often on abdominal tergite 6 (cf. Aphis picridis which only has small marginal tubercles on tergites 1 and 7). The siphunculi are 2.2-2.3 times longer than the cauda (cf. Aphis picridis which has the siphunculi 1.6-1.9 times longer than the cauda). (Note these data are based on only 2-3 specimens, so will underestimate the true range of variation).

The alate (see second picture above) is green rather than yellow.

The horned oxtongue aphid was first found in 2015 in ant attended colonies at the stem base of prickly oxtongue plants (Picris echioides) growing at the roadside on the Clifton-Shefford bypass in Bedfordshire. In 2018 it was found again at the same location and at another site in Bedfordshire, Etonbury Woods.

Read more...

 

Aphis pilosellae (Mouse-ear hawkweed aphid) aphid)

Adult apterae of Aphis pilosellae are pale to dark green. Immature aphids are paler (see pictures below). Large apterae have dusky bands across tergites 7-8 or 6-8; small apterae have only faint dusky bars on 7-8. The most distinctive character of Aphis pilosellae is the long apical rostral segment which is longer than antennal segment IV or V. The marginal tubercles on abdominal segments 1 and 7 are rather large. The siphunculi are 0.80 to 1.25 times the length of the cauda, which is tapering with very strongly incurved hairs. The body length of the Aphis pilosellae aptera is 1.02-1.54 mm.

The green mouse-ear hawkweed aphid lives under the rosette leaves and on the stolons of mouse-ear hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella). It is sheltered by ants under tents of soil particles. Sexual forms exist, but have not been described. In Britain it seems to be restricted to the south-east, possibly because it needs high sunshine levels. Aphis pilosellae is found throughout Europe and into Russia.

Read more...

 

Aphis plantaginis (Plantain aphid)

Adult Aphis plantaginis apterae are dark green, mottled to a greater or lesser extent with pale green. The antennal terminal process is 2.0-2.8 times the length of the base of the sixth antennal segment. Their abdominal sclerotic pattern is variable, with the most heavily marked having dark intersegmental muscle sclerites (see micrographs below), small marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites and bars across tergites 7 and 8. Marginal tubercles are rather large, especially in alates. The siphunculi are black and 1.62-2.42 times the length of the dusky cauda. The body length of Aphis plantaginis aptera is 1.23-2.04 mm.

Aphis plantaginis lives under the rosette leaves and on the root collar of great plantain (Plantago major), hoary plantain (Plantago media) and ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata). It does not host alternate. It is usually attended by ants which cover the aphid colony with soil particles. Sexual forms develop in autumn. Aphis plantaginis is widely distributed in southern Britain and throughout most of Europe and into Asia.

Read more...

 

Aphis pomi (Apple aphid)

The Aphis pomi aptera (below first) is bright apple green or yellow green and is not wax-powdered. The abdominal dorsum is pale and usually entirely membranous, although rarely a small sclerite or short bar may occur on the spine of tergite 5. The fused last two rostral segments are more than 120 μm in length and marginal tubercles are present on abdominal tergites 2-4 (the latter two characters distinguish Aphis pomi from the very similar invasive Aphis spiraecola). The siphunculi and cauda are conspicuously blackish. The cauda has 10-19 hairs (rarely less than 13). The body length of an adult aptera is 1.2-2.2 mm.

Aphis pomi alates (above second) have a black thorax. The alate abdomen is green, usually with 3 pairs of weakly pigmented black lateral circular spots on the anterior abdominal segments, and a semicircular spot in front of and behind each siphunculus.

The green apple aphid does not host alternate. It feeds in dense colonies on the young shoots and undersides of leaves of apple (Malus spp.) and related plants including pear (Pyrus), hawthorn (Crataegus), Sorbus and Cotoneaster, causing leaf curl. Colonies are often attended by ants. Sexual forms occur in autumn and after mating the females lay sometimes large egg masses on the twigs. It is generally common and is distributed throughout Europe, north Africa, Asia eastwards to India and Pakistan, and North America.

Read more...

 

Aphis praeterita (Hairy willowherb aphid)

Adult Aphis praeterita apterae are lemon yellow to greenish yellow (see two pictures below). Their abdominal dorsum is membranous with little or no sclerotization. Marginal tubercles are small (barely visible in the micrograph below right), those on tergites 1 and 7 being distinctly smaller than the adjacent spiracular plates. The tapering siphunculi are apically dusky and have regular imbrication. They are 1.29-1.95 times the caudal length. The cauda is slightly dusky and finger-shaped. The body length of adult Aphis praeterita apterae is 1.44-2.47 mm.

Alates have short cross bars or sclerites on the posterior abdominal tergites, and frequently also on some of the anterior 5 tergites. Antennal segment III has 7-12 secondary rhinaria, IV has 0-5 and V has 0-1.

The hairy willowherb aphid does not host alternate, remaining all year on the same host, hairy willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum). They feed on the underside of the leaves and on the growing shoot apices. These aphids are not usually ant attended. In Britain, Aphis praeterita has been recorded in most southern English counties. It is widely distributed in Europe, Central Asia, Pakistan and China - and has been introduced to North America.

Read more...

 

Aphis ruborum (Bramble aphid)

Aphis ruborum apterae (see first picture below) are commonly dark blue-green in spring and pale yellow-green in summer. Dwarf apterae (0.8-1.0 mm) occur in late summer. The abdominal dorsum is mostly pale and membranous. The siphunculi are pale but with dusky bases and apices, and 1.1-2 times the length of the cauda. The antennae and legs are pale. The body length of Aphis ruborum apterae usually varies from 1.1-2.2 mm.

Aphis ruborum alates (see second picture above) are dark or pale green with have some pale faint dorsal bands and dark siphunculi.

The small bramble aphid does not host alternate. Aphis ruborum feeds on blackberry (Rubus fruticosus). It is also found on loganberry and rarely on strawberry. In early summer it lives in dense colonies, is ant attended and causes leaf curl. In late summer dwarf apterae may be found living singly on the underside of the leaf between the veins. Sexual forms occur in autumn. Aphis ruborum is widely distributed through Europe into North Africa and central Asia.

Read more...

 

Aphis rumicis (Dock aphid)

Aphis rumicis apterae are coal-black to very dark greenish-brown. Their antennae are pale near their bases but are darkened from the middle of segment III to their tips. The dorsum typically has well marked bands across tergites 6-8 as well as fragmented bands on tergites 1-5 (these bands are difficult to see in live specimens). The hairs on their hind legs are all much longer than the least width of the tibiae. The black siphunculi are 0.89-1.35 times the length of the black cauda. The body length of Aphis rumicis is 2.05-2.77 mm.

The alates normally have a very regular pattern of bands of even width on tergites 1-5 which often extend over most of the width of the tergites. Immature Aphis rumicis do not have the pleural wax spots typical of many 'black' aphids. This last characteristic is one of the easiest ways to distinguish Aphis rumicis from Aphis fabae which also occurs on Rumex.

The dock aphid feeds on dock (Rumex species) and occasionally on rhubarb (Rheum). It does not host alternate. Sexual forms are produced in autumn. Aphis rumicis rolls and crumples the leaves of its host to form pseudogalls, before later in the year moving up stems and into the inflorescences (this also distinguishes Aphis rumicis from Aphis fabae which does not roll the leaves. Aphis rumicis is usually attended by ants. Note: in the past Aphis rumicis was regularly confused with Aphis fabae and was consequently thought to also feed on beans and many other plants.

Read more...

 

Aphis salicariae (Dogwood - rosebay willowherb aphid)

Aphis salicariae apterae are reddish brown with a marked wax bloom making the aphids appear grey or pinkish (see two pictures below). The mid-dorsum of the Aphis salicariae aptera is more or less membranous but there are small postsiphuncular and marginal sclerites, dark intersegmental muscle sclerites and transverse bands across tergites 6-8. The siphunculi are gently to rather strongly curved outwards, and the cauda is short and bluntly tapering. The body length of Aphis salicariae apterae is 1.8-2.3 mm.

The alate is much less heavily waxed than the aptera, and has a better developed pattern with larger marginals and postsiphunculars and short median sclerites on most of the tergites. The siphunculi are also curved outwards on the alate.

The primary host of the dogwood - rosebay willowherb aphid host is the red-barked dogwood (Cornus alba) where the aphid causes leaf curl and feeds in developing flower umbels. The secondary host is rosebay willowherb (Chamaenerion (=Epilobium) angustifolium) where the aphid lives in colonies along the midribs of the underside of the leaves. Sexual forms occur in autumn. Aphis salicariae is widely distributed through Europe into north-west and central Asia, and has been introduced to and is widepread in North America.

Read more...

 

Aphis sambuci (Elder aphid)

On their primary host (elder), Aphis sambuci apterae (see first picture below) are very variable in colour from dark green through to yellowish brown; on their secondary host (e.g. root collar of dock) Aphis sambuci are usually dark green. Adults and immatures often have white waxy stripes acros the sides of the abdominal segments. Antennae, siphunculi and legs blackish on the primary host and brownish in root colonies. The dorsal abdominal sclerotic pattern comprises small marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites, dark intersegmental muscle sclerites and variably complete transverse bands across tergites 6-8. Tergites 1-4 and and 7 have marginal tubercles (visible if you expand the images below) between their dark marginal sclerites. The cauda is dark and bluntly tapering. The body length of adult Aphis sambuci apterae is 2.0-3.5 mm.

Alates (see second picture above) have larger postsiphunculars, well developed marginals, stronger bands on tergites 7-8 and some unpaired median dorsal sclerites.

The elder aphid normally host alternates between elder (Sambucus nigra) in spring where it forms dense colonies, and the roots and root collars of various herbs such as docks (Rumex) and campions (Silene). Sexual forms of Aphis sambuci occur in autumn. It is strongly ant attended on the primary host and sheltered by ants on the secondary host roots. It occurs throughout the northern continents.

Read more...

 

Aphis sanguisorbae (Salad burnet root aphid)

Adult apterae of Aphis sanguisorbae are blackish brown, sometimes with copper and red-brown hues on the posterior tergites. The newly moulted aphids are very shiny, but as they age they develop a slight wax bloom giving them a matt appearance. The wax bloom is most apparent on immature Aphis sanguisorbae. The dorsal cuticle usually has a distinct reticulation. The dorsal abdominal pattern is confined to narrow dark bands across tergites 7-8 and small dark intersegmental muscle sclerites. The siphunculi are dark, more or less cylindrical and with hardly any apical flange. The cauda is short, broadly tongue shaped and often very pale. Hairs on the legs are blunt and mostly short.

Aphis sanguisorbae alatae (see second picture above) have large marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites, strong bands on tergites 6-8 and some additional bands or sclerites on some of tergites 1-5.

The aphids found on Salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor) are generally regarded as Aphis sanguisorbae ssp. poterii. They have shorter hairs and more weakly developed marginal tubercles than the nominate species living on Great burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis).

The salad burnet root aphid lives under ant-constructed shelters of soil or chalk particles at the base of salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor). Apterous males and oviparae are produced in autumn. There are few records of this aphid in England (only in Kent, Bedford and Cambridge - and now, with our record, in East Sussex), and one recent record in Wales. However, it is very easy to overlook this aphid, and it is probably widespread on chalk and limestone soils in Britain wherever its host occurs. Aphis sanguisorbae has been widely, but infrequently, recorded from most of Europe and from Israel.

Read more...

 

Aphis schneideri (Blackcurrant aphid)

Aphis schneideri apterae are dark bluish green to blackish green with distinct wax powdering. The hairs on the third antennal segment are long, acute and 2.0-3.1 times the basal diameter of that segment (cf. Aphis grossulariae which has those hairs only 1.0-1.5 times the basal diameter of that segment). The dorsal abdominal sclerotic pattern of Aphis schneideri is absent or limited at most to dusky bands across tergites 6-8. The abdominal marginal tubercles are very prominent, subconical and are often present on all segments from 1-7 inclusive. Their siphunculi and legs are pale.The cauda is short and blunt. The body length of apterae is 1.7-2.3 mm.

Alate Aphis schneideri have dark marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites, bands across tergites 6-8, and sometimes small sclerites or broken bars on tergites 1-5. The siphunculi are dark in the alate, and compared to the aptera the cauda is rather more slender and less sharply tapering over the distal two thirds.

The blackcurrant aphid does not host alternate, hence the common name 'permanent' currant aphid. It feeds on blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum) and related currants (Ribes spp.), forming dense colonies up young shoots and under the leaves. Aphis schneideri causes bunching and leaf curl and is attended by ants. Sexual forms occur in autumn. It occurs throughout much of Europe and parts of Asia.

Read more...

 

Aphis sedi (Stonecrop aphid)

Aphis sedi apterae are small and dark green to blackish green with no wax powdering. The antennal terminal process of Aphis sedi is 1.6-2.3 times the base of the sixth antennal segment (cf. Aphis gossypii which has the terminal process 2.1-3.2 times the base of the sixth antennal segment). The fused apical rostral segment (RIV+V) of Aphis sedi is 1.04-1.20 times the length of the second hind tarsal segment (HT2) (cf. Aphis gossypii where RIV+V is 1.00-1.57 times the length of HT2.) Their dorsal abdominal sclerotic pattern is limited at most to dusky bands across tergites 7-8. The siphunculi of Aphis sedi are dark, but the antennae and legs have conspicuous pale sections (see first picture below). The siphunculi are 0.8-1.5 times the length of the cauda which is short, blunt and rather dark, only a little paler than the siphunculi (cf. Aphis gossypii where the cauda is usually pale/dusky, markedly paler than the siphunculi). The body length of Aphis sedi apterae is 1.0-1.6 mm.

The Aphis sedi alate (see second picture above) has a relatively strongly developed dorsal abdominal pattern with (on larger specimens) large marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites, broad bands across tergites 6-8 and variably developed bars on some or all of tergites 1-5. The alate has 4-12 secondary rhinaria on the third antennal segment and 0-3 rhinaria on the fourth antennal segment.

The stonecrop aphid does not host alternate. Sexual forms occur in autumn. It feeds on various stonecrops (Sedum spp.) forming large colonies up young stems, in flower heads or under leaves. It is attended by ants and causes distortion of the infested shoot. Aphis sedi occurs throughout Europe and parts of Asia as well as the eastern USA.

 

Aphis spiraecola (Spirea aphid)

Adult apterae of Aphis spiraecola are bright greenish yellow to apple green. The abdominal dorsum is pale and usually entirely membranous. The fused last two rostral segments are less than 120 μm in length (cf. Aphis pomi which has the fused last two segments more than 130 μm in length). Marginal tubercles are restricted to abdominal tergites 1 & 7, with none present on abdominal tergites 2-4 (cf. Aphis pomi which has marginal tubercles on tergites 2-4 ). The femoral hairs are long and fine, the longest of them being longer than the diameter of the femur at its base. The siphunculi and cauda are black. The cauda usually has less than 12 hairs (7-15) (cf. Aphis pomi on which the cauda usually has more than 13 hairs (10-19)). The body length of an adult Aphis spiraecola aptera is 1.2-2.2 mm.

Alatae (see second picture above) have a dark brown head and thorax, and a yellowish-green abdomen with dusky marginal sclerites.

The secondary hosts of Aphis spiraecola are in over 20 plant families, especially shrubs in the Caprifoliaceae, Asteraceae, Rosaceae, Rubiaceae, and Rutaceae. In North America, Brazil and Japan the species also produce sexual forms on primary host - meadowsweets (Spiraea species), or sometimes citrus or apple. Aphis spiraecola is thought to have had its origin in the Far East. In most of the rest of the world it reproduces parthenogenetically on its secondary hosts all year round. Aphis spiraecola is a major pest of citrus fuits, mountain yarrow, apple (North America) and pears (China). It has a worldwide distribution in temperate and tropical regions.

 

Aphis taraxacicola (Dandelion aphid)

Aphis taraxacicola apterae are mottled dark green (see first picture below), and are not wax powdered. Their siphunculi are dark and the cauda is dusky. The terminal process of the sixth antennal segment is 2.1 to 2.8 times the length of the base of that segment. The abdominal sclerotic pattern varies from being heavily marked with dark intersegmental muscle sclerites and small marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites across tergites 7-8 to almost complete lack of any dark pigmentation. Abdominal marginal tubercles are rather large and prominent. The hairs on their legs are short with all femoral hairs shorter than the least width of the hind tibiae. Aphis taraxacicola siphunculi are 1.2 to 2.4 times the length of the cauda. The body length is 1.6 to 2.02 mm.

Aphis taraxacicola alates (second picture below) are also mottled dark green.

Aphis taraxacicola is closely related to Aphis hypochoeridis and Aphis crepidis, both of which share an association with yellow-flowered Asteraceae. The dandelion aphid is found on the root collar and under the rosette leaves of Taraxacum (dandelion) species, mostly in dry sunny places with low or sparse vegetation. Aphis taraxacicola is usually ant attended and the ants tent over the colony with soil particles. It does not host alternate and sexual forms are found in autumn. It is found throughout Britain and the rest of Europe and in Siberia, with additional records from Canada and Japan (Sugimoto & Takahashi, 1996).

Read more...

 

Aphis tormentillae (Tormentil aphid)

Adult apterae of Aphis tormentillae (uppermost aphid in picture below) are rather small and very dark blackish green, appearing black in life. The antennae of the adult aptera often only have five segments. The dorsal abdominal pattern of Aphis tormentillae aptera is confined to bands across tergites 7-8, small dark intersegmental muscle sclerites and sometimes rudimentary marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites.There are small protuberant marginal tubercles on abdominal tergites 1 and 7. Their siphunculi are short and stout, 0.64-1.00 times the length of the cauda. The cauda is finger-shaped and dark like the siphunculi. The body length of the Aphis tormentillae aptera is 1.00-1.67 mm.

 

The alatae have larger marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites with a median sclerite on tergite 6. Immatures are covered with a grey wax powder.

Aphis tormentillae lives scattered in small numbers on the leaf bases and in the flowers of tormentil (Potentilla erecta). It does not host alternate. Sexual forms occur in autumn. The males are winged and the oviparae have rather strongly swollen hind tibiae. It is widely distributed in Britain but from very few counties mostly in Scotland. It has only been recorded from one county in England (Sussex) and one in Wales (Merioneth), but there are more records from Scotland. Aphis tormentillae has been recorded from most of Europe and from Russia.

Read more...

 

Aphis tripolii (Sea aster aphid)

Apterous Aphis tripolii are apple green with a dusky head and no wax powdering (see first picture below). The abdominal dorsum is entirely pale. The siphunculi are yellowish with dusky apices, and are 0.86-1.22 times the length of the cauda. The cauda is dusky with 5-9 hairs. The body length of Aphis tripolii is 1.3-2.45 mm.

Alate Aphis tripolii (see second picture above) have rather pale marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites, and sometimes pale and inconspicuous bands across tergites 7-8. The siphunculi of alates are uniformly dusky sclerotic. Aphis tripolii nymphs have a faint dorsal pattern of wax powdered spots (see second picture above).

The sea aster aphid does not host alternate but remains all year on on the upper parts of the leaves and on the flowers of Tripolium pannonicum (sea aster). Sexual forms are produced in autumn. Aphis tripolii is found in coastal salt marshes or on mud flats in a few European countries including Britain. Our record for Hampshire appears to be a new one for that county as Aphis tripolii is previously only known from the coastal fringe from Kent round to Norfolk and in Wales.

Read more...

 

Aphis ulicis (Gorse aphid)

The apterae of Aphis ulicis are very dark blackish green but appear greyish because of the strong wax powdering (see pictures below). Their sclerotized dorsal abdominal shield may appear shiny black. The size and solidity of the dorsal shield in apterae is very variable - it may cover a large area or be greatly reduced or it may break up into irregular segmental bars or sclerites (as shown in the first micrograph below). Marginal tubercles are present on abdominal segments I and VII. The apical rostal segment is slender (more than 3 times as long as width at base) and pointed. It is narrower at its base than is the case in the very similar Aphis cytisorum. The siphunculi are dark and are 0.9-1.6 times as long the cauda. The cauda is also dark, but legs and antennae are mostly pale. The body length of Aphis ulicis apterae is 1.3-2.4 mm.

The alate viviparous female (see picture below) has marginal sclerites and pigmented cross bars on each segment, those on V-VII reaching to the marginal sclerites. The oviparous female is less extensively pigmented than the vivipara. The male is winged and without cross bars on tergites I-VI.

The gorse aphid is monoecious feeding only on gorse (Ulex spp.) where it forms dense colonies on shoots, flowers and green seedpods. It is usually ant attended. Sexual forms occur in autumn. Aphis ulicis is widely distributed and often common in Britain, but is otherwise only known from Spain and the Netherlands.

Read more...

 

Aphis umbrella (Umbrella aphid)

Adult apterae of Aphis umbrella (see first picture below) are pale green or yellowish green usually mottled with darker green. The abdominal dorsum in apterae is quite pale. The siphunculi in apterae are usually pale, often becoming slightly dusky at the apex. The siphunculi are 1.53 to 2.06 times the length of the cauda. The body length of Aphis umbrella apterae is 1.7-2.3 mm.

In alatae (see second picture above) the sclerotic pattern is confined to rather pale postsiphuncular and marginal sclerites and sometimes pale and inconspicuous bands across tergites 7-8. The siphunculi are uniformly dusky. Aphis umbrella alatae have 4-13 secondary rhinaria distributed on the third antennal segment, 0-5 on the fourth, and 0-1 on the fifth antennal segment.

Aphis umbrella feeds on mallows (Malva spp.) and certain other Malvaceae, causing umbrella-like leaf-curl pseudogalls of the terminal leaves. It does not host alternate. Sexual forms appear in autumn, although reproduction is probably entirely parthenogenetic in warmer climes. It is often ant-attended. In Britain the umbrella aphid has long been known from coastal localities in Sussex, Essex and Suffolk. It has more recently been recorded in several sites in Wales and Dorset. Aphis umbrella is found in Europe, Middle East and Central Asia and has been introduced to North America.

Read more...

 

Aphis urticata (Dark green nettle aphid)

Aphis urticata is a small to medium size aphid. Early generations of the dark green nettle aphid are dark bluish-green (see first picture below) with no wax covering. Later generations of dwarf summer apterae become pale yellowish. The abdominal dorsum is either unsclerotized or rarely with rather narrow dusky bands across tergites 7-8. The longest posterior hairs on the femora, and the longest tibial hairs, are always much longer than the least width of the tibiae. The pale tapering siphunculi are usually slightly dusky, and are 0.90-1.78 times the length of the cauda. The tongue shaped cauda is also pale. The body length of adult Aphis urticata apterae is 1.7-2.2 mm.

Aphis urticata alatae (see second picture above) have more sclerotization than apterae with bands across tergites 7-8 and some marginal sclerites. The siphunculi of alates are uniformly dusky and cylindical. The body length of the alate is 1.5-1.8 mm.

Early generations of the dark green nettle aphid form dense colonies on stems and leaves of the common nettle (Urtica dioica). The dwarf summer form of Aphis urticata can be found scattered on the undersides of the leaves. The dark green nettle aphid is generally common, and sometimes abundant, throughout Europe and into Asia.

Read more...

 

Aphis vandergooti (Yarrow root aphid)

Adult Aphis vandergooti apterae (see first picture below) are dark blue-green (or rarely yellow), with blotchy paler areas and no wax powdering. There is usually no dorsal abdominal sclerotic pattern, or there may be narrow bands across tergites 7-8. Marginal tubercles are large and conspicuous but rather flattened (best seen in the micrographs of preserved specimens below). Leg hairs are all very short, much shorter than the least width of tibiae. The siphunculi are tapering, usually widening slightly at the apex with a very small apical flange. The siphunculi are 1.93-2.57 times the length of the cauda. The body length of Aphis vandergooti apterae is 1.4 to 2.0 mm. Immatures are a paler green.

Aphis vandergooti alatae are dark blue-green and have 3-7 secondary rhinaria on the third antennal segment.

Aphis vandergooti does not host alternate. It lives in ant shelters on the roots, stolons and basal leaf petioles of composite plants of the tribe Anthemideae, especially yarrow (Achillea millefolium), wild chamomile (Matricaria), and tansy (Tanacetum vulgare). Apterous males are produced in autumn. In Britain Aphis vandergooti is widely distributed, but not very much recorded. It is widespread in Europe, but apparently commoner in northern Europe.

Read more...

 

Aphis verbasci (Mullein aphid)

Adult apterae of Aphis verbasci are bright golden-yellow to pale-green and slightly wax-powdered (see first two pictures below). The apical rostral segment is very narrow, only slightly tapering and about 3.5-5.0 times as long as its basal width. Bands may occur on tergites 7-8, but may be absent. There is also a pair or irregular dark pleural sclerites on tergite 5 in front of the siphuncular bases - these are just visible in the two adult apterae in picture below, but are clearer in older adults. The black siphunculi are rather heavily built, strongly tapering and usually with a distinct outward curvature at the extreme base. The cauda of Aphis verbasci is short and tapering.

Second image copyright Dr László Érsek, all rights reserved.

Aphis verbasci alates (see picture below) have marginal sclerites on tergites 2-4, postsiphuncular sclerites, strong bands across tergites 7-8 and a small irregular median sclerite on tergite 6.

The mullein aphid lives under basal leaves of mullein (Verbascum spp.), but it can also feed on buddleia (Buddleja spp.), Eryobotria japonica, Lantana camara, and Scrophularia. Very large populations can build up in late summer on the underside of buddleja leaves that are lying (more or less) flat on the ground. Oviparae and wingless males have been recorded in October. Aphis verbasci is found in Europe east into Russia, the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Northern India.d Northern India.

Read more...

 

Aphis viburni (Viburnum aphid)

Apterae of Aphis viburni are slate-coloured, brownish green or dark brown, sometimes with paired pleural wax spots on the abdomen. The sclerotic dark banding of the dorsum (just visible in the first picture below) is variable, confined to abdominal tergites 6-8 in smaller apterae, but with broken bands often present on some anterior tergites in larger specimens. Marginal tubercles are conspicuous (the brown lumps in the foreground of the second picture below) and subconical, very constant on tergites 1-4 but only irregularly on 5-6 (cf. Aphis fabae which does not generally have tubercles on each of tergites 1-4). Hairs on the femur and tibia are very long and fine and much longer than the least width of the tibia. The body length of Aphis viburni apterae is 1.83-3.04 mm.

The dark banding of the dorsum is more regular in the alates (see second picture above). Males are wingless.

Aphis viburni does not host alternate but remains all year on Viburnum opulus (guelder rose). Aphis viburni can most readily be distinguished from Aphis fabae (which can also use Viburnum opulus - as a primary host) by the gall of strongly curled leaves (see pictures below) that it produces. Aphis fabae does not produce a gall. The gall provides shelter for both the aphids and attendant ants.Sexual forms are produced in autumn. The viburnum aphid is found in southern England and over much of Europe.

Read more...

 

Aphis violae (Violet aphid)

Adult apterae of Aphis violae are dark green, mottled to a greater or lesser extent with pale green. The terminal process of the antenna is 2.4-3.7 times the length of the base of the sixth antennal segment. The abdominal sclerotic pattern is variable, with the most heavily marked having dark intersegmental muscle sclerites, small marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites and bars across tergites 7 and 8. Marginal tubercles are rather large, especially in alates.The siphunculi are black and 1.63-2.00 times the length of the dusky cauda. The body length of Aphis violae adult aptera is 1.1-2.0 mm.

Alates have 5-10 secondary rhinaria on the third antennal segment and 0-3 on the fourth.

Aphis violae lives basally on various species of violet (Viola) including sweet violet (Viola odorata) and dog violet (Viola riviniana). It does not host alternate. It is usually attended by ants which cover the aphid colony with soil particles. Sexual forms develop in autumn. Aphis violae is widely distributed in Britain and most of Europe.

Read more...

 

Aphis vitalbae (Variable clematis aphid)

The dorsum of adult Aphis vitalbae apterae has no wax (cf. Aphis clematidis which is covered with powdery wax). The colour of the dorsum varies from very dark green (see first picture below) to mottled dark and pale green to pale green or yellowish (see second picture below). The antennae are pale, except for segment VI which has both the base and the terminal process darkened (cf. Myzus varians which has conspicuously banded antennae). The antennal terminal process is 1.7-3.5 times the length of the base of antennal segment VI. The apical rostral segment is 1.1-1.7 times longer than the second segment of the hind tarsus (cf. Aphis clematidis which has the apical rostral segment 0.75-1.0 times longer than the second segment of the hind tarsus). The siphunculi are either completely pale or dusky/dark at the apices (but see below for more discussion on this), and are 1.3-2.1 times as long as the cauda. The cauda is pale or dusky and is 0.17-0.21 mm long. The body length of the adult Aphis vitalbae aptera is 1.2-1.9 mm. Immature Aphis vitalbae show the same range of colour variation, but may show some light wax dusting.

The alate Aphis vitalbae (see third picture above) has a black head and thorax, with the abdominal dorsum mottled dark and light green, and dark siphunculi. The first picture below shows an adult aptera dorsal in alcohol. The second picture below shows a clarified mount of one of our specimens.

We initially had difficulties identifying this species. There were marked differences between the aphids we had found and those from Poland portrayed by Halaj & Osiadacz (2015) (see picture below). The Polish specimens all had dark (almost black) siphunculi, and often had a darker green stain on the dorsum resembling the letter "H".

Image copyright Halaj & Osiadacz under a Creative Commons Attribution License

Blackman (pers. comm) compared Aphis vitalbae from England, Austria, Italy and Bulgaria, and the pigmentation of the siphunculi was indeed surprisingly variable, with some of those from Italy having dark tips, and others dark enough to possibly appear black in life (including one ovipara). However, none of them had any of the dark dorsal markings of some of those pictured by Halaj. Halaj (pers. comm.) suggested that some of our specimens could be Aphis clematidis, but Roger Blackman of the British Museum (Natural History) has now confirmed the identity of our specimens as Aphis vitalbae following preparation of clarified mounts and measurement of the length of the apical rostral segment relative to the length of the second segment of the hind tarsus.

Aphis vitalbae feeds on the shoot tips, petioles and undersides of leaves of Clematis. It does not host alternate, but remains on clematis all year. In southern Europe and in England it is attended by ants. Oviparae and males have been recorded in Poland. Until recently Aphis vitalbae has been regarded as a southern European species, occurring in France, Greece, Italy and Spain. Since the 1960s (possibly earlier) the species has expanded its range northwards to include Bulgaria, Rumania, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Georgia. There are no previous published records this species in Britain, but the Natural History Museum holds two such records from 1945 and 2011. We have so far only found it in one British location on clematis growing in an industrial estate in Andover, Hampshire.

Read more...

Acknowledgements

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

References

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

  • Dixon, A.F.G. & Thieme, T. (2007). Aphids on deciduous trees. Naturalist's Handbooks 29. Richmond

  • Stroyan, H.L.G. (1984). aphids - Pterocommatinae and Aphidinae (Aphidini). Handbooks for the identification of British insects. 2(6). Royal Entomological Society of London.