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Aphidinae : Macrosiphini : Aphthargelia rumbleboredomia


Aphthargelia rumbleboredomia

Rumble's snowberry aphid

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

Identification & Distribution

Apterous viviparae of Aphthargelia rumbleboredomia (see pictures below) have distinctive red, black and orange colouration with white wax markings (cf. Aphthargelia symphoricarpi, the adults of which are black or dusky green). The head is black, red or orange, often paler than the black or reddish thorax. Their antennae have segments II-V mostly white, with dark apices, and segments I and VI are dusky or dark. The antennal tubercles are moderately prominent, distinctly exceeding the middle of the frons. The rostrum extends almost to the hind coxae, with the apical rostral segment 0.77-0.92 times as long as the second hind tarsal segment. The thorax is partially covered with a dark shield. The prothorax has marginal tubercles, sometimes very large and/or split into two separate tubercles. Strong marginal tubercles are present on segments II-V and immediately anterior to the siphunculi. The underlying body colour of the abdomen is pale milky yellowish. The abdominal dorsum has a dark reticulated shield restricted to tergites III-V, connected by a narrow spinal band to the thoracic shield (cf. Aphthargelia symphoricarpi, which has a large dark reticulated shield and/or bands on all terga), Abdominal tergite I has a transverse broad white wax band broken in middle by black, tergite V is mostly pale with a white wax spot in middle, there is a narrow white wax band just anterior to the siphunculi, and tergites VII, VIII, and the cauda are dusted lightly with white wax. The siphunculi have dark red internal pigment surrounding their bases. The legs are mostly pale. The cauda is pale and more or less triangular, with 7-17 hairs.

Aphthargelia rumbleboredomia was first recognised and described by Jensen (2013). It was previously treated under Aphthargelia symphoricarpi (see Andersen (1991)). Jensen named this species in honor of his dog who, upon becoming tired of his master's snail-like progress when hunting for aphids, would desist from asking to go home and take matters into his own paws, thus allowing Jensen to proceed undisturbed.

Images above copyright Andrew Jensen under a Creative Commons License.

The alate Aphthargelia rumbleboredomia (not pictured) has 55-77 secondary rhinaria on antennal segment III, 25-61 rhinaria on IV and 0-15 of them on V. The antennal tubercles are moderately prominent, and the rostrum extends to the middle of the mesothorax. The abdominal tergum has dark lateral sclerites. There are intersegmental muscle attachment plates, and partial bands on tergites II-IV, a narrow transverse band between the siphunculi and complete transverse bands on VII and VIII. The siphunculi are dark, and the cauda is more or less triangular. Young immatures (see pictures above and below) have dark siphunculi and a small orange patch around the base of each siphunculus; they have little or no wax. By the fourth instar they acquire more general orange colouration and wax bands.

Note: The pale aphid with green patches on the extreme right of the picture below is Capitophorus essigi which occurs in mixed colonies with Aphthargelia rumbleboredomia (see other aphids on below).

Images above copyright Andrew Jensen under a Creative Commons License.

Aphthargelia rumbleboredomia host alternates between snowberry (Symphoricarpos) as its primary host, and knotweed Aconogonon (= Koenigia) (Polygonaceae) as its secondary host. The species is holocyclic, with oviparae found on Symphoricarpos in September. Andersen (1991) tested the hypothesis that the ant Formica fusca acted as a mutualist of Aphthargelia rumbleboredomia (referred to as Aphthargelia symphoricarpi). His experiments showed that rather than a mutualistic interaction, the ants were predating these aphids. This reduced both aphid population growth rates and aphid densities. The aphid has so far been found in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington in USA, but is likely to occur in other U.S. states and some Canadian provinces.


Other aphids on the same host

Primary hosts

Aphthargelia rumbleboredomia has been recorded from 1 (unspecified) species of Symphoricarpos.

Blackman & Eastop list 11 species of aphid as feeding on snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus worldwide, and provide formal identification keys (Show World list). Of those aphid species, Baker (2015) lists 6 as occurring in Britain (Show British list).

Secondary hosts

Aphthargelia rumbleboredomia has been recorded on 2 species of Aconogonon (Aconogonon davisii, Aconogonon phytolacifolium).

Blackman & Eastop list 4 species of aphid as feeding on Aconogonon phytolacifolium worldwide, and provide formal identification keys (Show World list). Of those aphid species, Baker (2015) lists 1 as occurring in Britain (Show British list).


Identification was made by Andrew Jensen by microscopic examination of preserved specimens. We have used the keys and species accounts of the keys and species accounts of Jensen (2013) together with information from Roger Blackman & Victor Eastop in Aphids on Worlds Plants. We fully acknowledge these authors and those listed in the reference sections 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


  • Andersen, M. (1991). An ant-aphid interaction: Formica fusca and Aphthargelia symphoricarpi on Mount St. Helens. American Midland Naturalist 125, 29-36. Full text

  • Jensen, A.S. (2013). The aphid genus Aphthargelia Hottes (Hemiptera: Aphididae), with one new species. Zootaxa 3701 (3): 381-392 Abstract