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

Eriosomatinae : Fordini : Aploneura lentisci


Aploneura lentisci

Mealy grass root aphid

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

Identification & Distribution

Aploneura lentisci galls the leaves of mastic (Pistacia lentiscus). The galls (see picture below) are formed exclusively on young shoots of the same year's growth. They appear in late March-April, and grow quickly to attain their maximum size by May. The mature reddish-green galls are pocket-like, often kidney-shaped, formed by invagination of the leaf alongside the mid-rib. The fundatrix inside does not start to reproduce until early June, but there are at least two parthenogenetic generations (see Wool & Manheim, 1986). The galls open in August-November and, over an extended period, emigrant alatae (1.3-2.3 mm) leave as they become mature. These alatae establish colonies on their secondary host - the roots of grasses.

Image copyright Luis Mata under a creative commons licence.

Aploneura lentisci apterae on grass roots (see first picture below) are covered with fine white wax which is flocculent (loosely-clumped) at the posterior end. The adult apterae (see second picture below) are pale yellow with a darker head and a spindle shaped body. The antennae and legs are very short. The rhinarium on antennal segment VI has its long axis along the segment (cf. Aploneura ampelina, in which the rhinarium has its long axis across the segment). The aptera body is 1.1-3.0 mm long.

The images below show an adult Aploneura lentisci aptera, dorsal and ventral, in alcohol.

In the Mediterranean region the mealy grass root aphid host alternates from mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus) to the roots of numerous species of grasses (Poaceae), and occasionally of other plants such as Ranunculus and Veronica. It has a two-year life cycle that is typical of Fordini. In other parts of its distribution where the primary host is not available, Aploneura lentisci remains all year on the roots of grasses, still producing large numbers of winged pre-sexual forms (sexuparae) in autumn, even though those forms cannot find food. Aploneura lentisci is found over most of southern, western and central Europe, the Middle East, central Asia, parts of Africa, Australasia and North & South America.


Other aphids on same host

Primary host

Aploneura lentisci has been recorded on three Pistacia species, but only Pistacia lentiscus has been confirmed.

Blackman & Eastop list 3 species of aphid as feeding on Chios mastic (Pistacia lentiscus) worldwide, and provide formal identification keys (Show World list). Of those aphid species, Baker (2015) lists 2 as occurring in Britain (Show British list).

Secondary hosts

Blackman & Eastop list 66 species of aphid as feeding on grass roots (Poaceae) worldwide (Show world list).

Paul (1977) found at least 16 aphid species recorded on grass roots in Britain (Show British list).


We are grateful to Luis Matsa for making his photo of an Aploneura lentisci gall available for use, under a creative commons licence.

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


  • Paul, R.G. (1977). Aspects of the biology and taxonomy of British myrmecophilous root aphids. PhD thesis. Imperial College, London. Full text

  • Wool, D. & Manheim, O. (1986). Population ecology of the gall-forming aphid, Aploneura lentisci. Res. Popul. Ecol. 28, 151-162. Full text