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Aphidinae : Aphidini : Aphis decepta


Aphis decepta

Yellow cowparsnip aphid

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

Identification & Distribution

Adult apterae of Aphis decepta have a yellow body, with the lateral portions of the thorax and small patches on the abdomen immediately posterior to the siphunculi dark brown (note the Aphis decepta pictured below are yellow-green immatures and lack the darker markings - also note they are mixed with grey Aphis fabae immatures). Their antennal tubercles are weakly developed. The antennae are pale basally, shading to brownish by the middle of antennal segment V. The apical rostral segment (RIV+V) is 1.1-1.4 times as long as the second hind tarsal segment (HTII). There are marginal tubercles on abdominal tergites I & VII. The siphunculi are dark brown, darker and a little longer than the cauda. The cauda has about 12-14 hairs (cf. Aphis gossypii, which also has siphunculi darker than the cauda, but has only 4-7 hairs on the cauda). The anterior half of the subgenital plate has only 2(-3) hairs (cf. Aphis asclepiadis, which usually has more than 2 hairs on the anterior half of the subgenital plate). Immature Aphis decepta are greenish-yellow.

Images above by permission, copyright Claude Pilon, all rights reserved.

The alate Aphis decepta (not pictured) has 35-67 rather tuberculate, densely crowded secondary rhinaria on antennal segment III (cf. the alatae of other Aphis species found on Pastinaca, which have fewer than 12 rhinaria on segment III).

Image above by permission, copyright Claude Pilon, all rights reserved.

Hottes & Frison (1931) first described this aphid from the undersides of the leaves of (non-indigenous) parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) in Illinois, USA. But it has since been found to occur on the undersides of the leaves of the indigenous American cow parsnip (Heracleum lanatum = Heracleum maximum) in north eastern USA and in Manitoba and Quebec, Canada. As far as is known, Aphis decepta is monoecious holocyclic. It has not been recorded outside northern USA or Canada.


Other aphids on the same host

Aphids decepta has been recorded from 1 (possibly 2) species of Hogweed, Heracleum lanatum (= Heracleum maximum?),and one species of parsnip (Pastinaca sativa).


Damage and control

Aphis decepta have not been recorded as a pest of cultivated varieties of parsnip (Pastinaca sativa), but they are considered a potential vector of onion yellow dwarf virus (Blackman & Eastop, 1984).


We are especially grateful to Claude Pilon for pictures of Aphis decepta (for more of her excellent pictures see).

For taxonomic details we have used the keys and species accounts of Hottes & Frison (1931) and Rojanavongse & Robinson (1976), together with information from Roger Blackman & Victor Eastop in Aphids on Worlds Plants. 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


  • Hottes, F.C. & Frison, T.H. (1931). The Plant Lice, or Aphiidae, of Illinois. Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin 19(3), 123-447. Full text

  • Rojanavongse, V. & Robinson, A.G. (1976). Nearctic species of Aphis L. (Homoptera: Aphididae) on Umbelliferae, with a key to those found in Manitoba. The Canadian Entomologist 108(1), 57-60. Abstract