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Hormaphidinae : Cerataphidini : Astegopteryx bambusae


Astegopteryx bambusae (= Astegopteryx bambucifoliae)

Bamboo horned aphid

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

Identification, Lifecycle & Distribution

Astegopteryx bambusae and Astegopteryx bambucifoliae were previously regarded as two closely related aphid species, with similar bamboo hosts and overlapping distributions in the oriental region. Only the second of these was thought to host alternate. By incorporating molecular analyses and morphological information, Li et al. (2019) concluded that Astegopteryx bambucifoliae is a junior synonym of Astegopteryx bambusae - albeit there are large-scale geographic patterns of population differentiation within this species. We have followed Li et al. (2019) and treated both forms as one species under the name Astegopteryx bambusae.

Alate Astegopteryx bambusae sexuparae fly to leaves of snowbell (Styrax suberifolius) in spring (not autumn) and deposit sexuales on leaf undersides. The first-instar sexuales soon leave the leaves and hide in narrow spaces such as in unfolding buds of the host tree. They mature and copulate, and females each lay a single egg. First instar fundatrices soon hatch from the eggs and induce galls on stems of developing Styrax suberifolius shoots. The galls (see picture below) comprise about 20 elongate subgalls radiating out from one point on the stem. These galls may be modified by invading Ceratoglyphina bambusae (Kurosu & Aoki, 1990). After one or two generations of apterous adults in the galls, emigrant alatae are produced over a period of several months. These migrate to the secondary host, bamboos.

Image above by permission, copyright Aoki & Kurosu, all rights reserved.

We are unable to find any description of the (gall-dwelling) apterae from their primary host.

The apterae of Astegopteryx bambusae on bamboo are broadly pear-shaped and coloured yellow to pale green. They vary in markings, with one form having two dark green uninterrupted longitudinal stripes on a yellow background (see two pictures below).

Images above by permission, copyright Sunil Joshi & Poorani, J. Aphids of Karnataka (accessed 12/2/20).

Alternatively they may have two separate pairs of short green stripes (see two pictures below), the first stripe runs from the thorax to abdominal tergite I and the second from tergites V to VII. These two colour forms were formerly assigned to different species with somewhat different, if overlapping, distributions, namely Astegopteryx bambucifoliae in east and south east Asia and Astegopteryx bambusae in northern India. Wax is sometimes present as a fringe at the margin of head and usually in tufts around the thorax and abdomen.

Images above by permission, copyright Sunil Joshi & Poorani, J. Aphids of Karnataka (accessed 12/2/20).

The antennae of the aptera are 0.22 times as long as body, with a terminal process that is 0.22 times as long as the base of the antennal segment VI. The apical rostral segment (RIV+V) is about as long as the second hind tarsal segment (HTII), but sometimes a little shorter. The siphunculi are on dark sclerotic cones, bearing thick 7-9 hairs. The cauda is broader than long, and bears 6 hairs.

All the pictures above show yellow (rather than pale green) forms, but pale green forms (see second picture below) are similarly common. For more different colour forms from different locations see pictures in Li et al. (2019).

Images above by permission, copyright Sunil Joshi & Poorani, J. Aphids of Karnataka (accessed 12/2/20).

Migratory alate Astegopteryx bambusae from their primary host have 18-19 annular secondary rhinaria on antennal segment III, 6-7 secondary rhinaria on segment IV, and 4-7 on segment V (Tao, 1961, as Astegopteryx sasakii). The alate viviparae from the secondary host has 28-39 annular secondary rhinaria on antennal segment III, 10-17 secondary rhinaria on segment IV, and 9-17 on segment V (Noordam, 1991).

Host-alternation is known to occur in Taiwan between Styrax suberifolius and various bamboos. Styrax suberifolius is distributed through southern China, Myanmar, Vietnam and Taiwan, and it seems likely that host alternation occurs wherever the primary host is available. Where it is not available (Indian subcontinent), populations are assumed to be anholocyclic on bamboo. The aphids form spaced-out colonies on the undersides of leaves, often the older leaves, of many bamboo species including Bambusa spp. and Dendrocalamus latiflorus (and possibly Phyllostachys lithophia & Phyllostachys edulis). The species is often attended by ants which forage the honeydew. Astegopteryx bambusae has a very wide distribution including the Indian subcontinent and throughout east and south-east Asia.


Other aphids on the same host

Primary host

The only recorded primary host of Astegopteryx bambusae is Styrax suberifolius.

Secondary hosts


We are especially grateful to S. Aoki & U. Kurosu for permitting us to use an image from Aoki & Kurosu (2010) and to Sunil Joshi & J. Poorani for images and information from Aphids of Karnataka.

We have used the keys and species accounts of Noordam (1991), Aoki & Kurosu (2010) and Li et al (2019) 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


  • Aoki, S. & Kurosu, U. (2010). A review of the biology of Cerataphidini (Hemiptera, Aphididae, Hormaphidinae), focusing mainly on their life cycles, gall formation, and soldiers. Psyche 2010, Article ID 380381, 34 pp. Full text

  • Kurosu, U. & Aoki, S. (1990). Transformation of the galls of Astegopteryx bambucifoliae by another aphid, Ceratoglyphina bambusae. Acta Phytopathologica et Entomologica Hungarica 25 (1-4), 113-122.

  • Li et al. (2019). Molecular and morphological evidence for the identity of two nominal species of Astegopteryx (Hemiptera, Aphididae, Hormaphidinae). ZooKeys 833, 59-74. Full text

  • Noordam, D. (1991). Hormaphidinae from Java (Homoptera: Aphididae). Zool. Verh. Leiden 270, 1-525. Full text

  • Tao, Charles Chia-Chu (1969). Aphid fauna of China. Science Yearbook of the Taiwan Museum. 12, 40-99.