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Aphidinae : Aphidini : Aphis spiraephaga


Aphis spiraephaga

Wax-banded spirea aphid

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

Identification & Distribution

Adult apterae of Aphis spiraephaga (see large aphid in centre of first picture below) are dark greyish brown, with transverse dorsal bands of greyish-white wax (cf. Aphis spiraecola, which is green or yellowish green). The siphunculi and cauda are equally dark (cf.Aphis gossypii, which has the cauda paler than the siphunculi). The antennae & legs are also dark, except for antennal segment III, and the major part of the tibiae. The antennae are 6-segmented, 0.5-0.8 times the body length, with a terminal process 1.6-2.3 times the base of antennal segment VI. The longest hair on antennal segment III is 0.5-0.9 times the basal diameter of that segment (cf. Aphis fabae and Aphis solanella, which both have the longest hair 1.0-3.4 times the basal diameter), and there are no secondary rhinaria. The rostrum reaches to, or behind, the middle coxae, and the apical rostral segment (RIV+V) is 0.7-0.9 times the second hind tarsal segment (HTII). The dorsum has a very variably developed pattern of sclerotization. The abdomen has marginal tubercles on segments I & VII, rarely with smaller ones on segments II-IV. The siphunculi are scaly, 0.7-1.1 times the caudal length (cf. Aphis spiraephila in North America, which has short siphunculi, only 0.4-0.5 times the cauda). The cauda has 7-17 hairs. The body length of adult Aphis spiraephaga apterae is 0.9-2.0 mm. Young immatures are usually light reddish brown, darkening as they mature, and with wax bands.

Images above by permission, copyright Dr László Érsek, all rights reserve

The alate viviparae of Aphis spiraephaga (just visible top right of 2nd image above) is blackish-brown or black, with a shining dorsum. The abdomen has dorsal cross bands, or transverse rows of sclerites. Antennal segment III bears 7-20 secondary rhinaria, IV has 0-5 rhinaria and V has 0-2.

Images above by permission, copyright Dr László Érsek, all rights reserved.

Aphis spiraephaga is thought to usually be monoecious holocyclic on Spiraea. However, it may sometimes host alternate to a wide variety of other shrubs shrubs & herbs in summer, such as rockcress (Arabis), valerian (Centranthus), heath (Erica), meadowsweet (Filipendula), snowberry (Symphoricarpos), and valerian (Valeriana). The males are alate. Aphis spiraephaga lives in dense colonies on the young shoots. It often lives in mixed colonies with another Spiraea aphid, Aphis spiraecola (see green aphids in first picture above). The colonies are frequently attended by ants (see second picture above). The wax-banded spirea aphid is found in Europe (but not UK), west Siberia, Iran, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.


Other aphids on the same host

Aphis spiraephaga has been recorded on 22 species of meadowsweet (Spiraea aquilegifolia, Spiraea x arguata, Spiraea betulifolia, Spiraea billardii, Spiraea x bumalda, Spiraea canescens, Spiraea cantoniensis, Spiraea chamaedryifolia, Spiraea crenata, Spiraea flexuosa, Spiraea hypericifolia, Spiraea japonica, Spiraea lasiocarpa, Spiraea media, Spiraea nipponica, Spiraea prunifolia, Spiraea salicifolia, Spiraea thunbergii, Spiraea trichocarpa, Spiraea trilobata, Spiraea x vanhouttei, Spiraea wilsoni).

Aphis spiraephaga has been recorded from 1 Filipendula species ( Filipendula ulmaria).

Aphis spiraephaga has been recorded from 2 Centranthus species (Centranthus angustifolius, Centranthus ruber).


We especially thank Dr. László Érsek for the images shown above.

We have made provisional identifications from high resolution photos of living specimens, along with host plant identity. In the great majority of cases, identifications have been confirmed by microscopic examination of preserved specimens. We have used the keys and species accounts of Blackman & Eastop (1994) and Blackman & Eastop (2006) supplemented with Blackman (1974), Stroyan (1977), Stroyan (1984), Blackman & Eastop (1984), Heie (1980-1995), Dixon & Thieme (2007) and Blackman (2010). We fully acknowledge these authors as the source for the (summarized) taxonomic information we have presented. Any errors in identification or information are ours alone, and we would be very grateful for any corrections. For assistance on the terms used for aphid morphology we suggest the figure provided by Blackman & Eastop (2006).

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