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Aphidinae : Macrosiphini : Aulacorthum solani


Aulacorthum solani

Glasshouse - potato aphid, Foxglove aphid

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

Identification & Distribution:

Adult apterae of Aulacorthum solani (see first two pictures below) are pear shaped, shiny green or greenish yellow, with dark-tipped siphunculi, and usually either a dark green or rust coloured patch at the base of each siphunculus. There are no dark markings on the dorsum (cf. Neomyzus circumflexus, which has a black, horseshoe-shaped abdominal patch on the dorsum). Their antennae have darkened joints; they are 1.1-1.3 times the body length, with a terminal process that is 4.0-5.5 times as long as the base of antennal segment VI (cf. Myzus ornatus, which has antennae only 0.5-0.6 times body length, and a terminal process 1.7-2.8 times the base of segment VI). Antennal segment III usually bears 1-2 secondary rhinaria. The apical rostral segment (RIV+V) is 1.1-1.4 times the length of the second hind rostral segment (HTII). The siphunculi are long, slender and tapered, 2.2-2.5 times the caudal length, and distinctly flanged. The cauda has 7 hairs. The body length of Aulacorthum solani apterae is 1.5-3.0 mm.

Second image above, copyright Ian Barton, all rights reserved.

Alatae of Aulacorthum solani (see first picture below) have darker antennae, legs and siphunculi and a green abdomen, with a pigmented dorsal pattern consisting of rather pale or nearly black marginal and intersegmental dorsal sclerites, and a variably developed pattern of cross bars. Antennal segment III bears 5-26 secondary rhinaria. The second picture below shows an Aulacorthum solani aptera in alcohol.

The clarified slide mounts below are of adult viviparous female Aulacorthum solani : wingless, and winged.

Micrographs of clarified mounts by permission of Roger Blackman, copyright AWP all rights reserved.

Aulacorthum solani is extremely polyphagous. It will colonise plants in may different dicotyledonous and monocotyledonous families. Unusually for an aphid, Aulacorthum solani can go through the sexual phase on many different plant species - but, in temperate climates, most of their population overwinters as nymphs or apterae, especially on potato sprouts and on many glasshouse plants and wild species such as foxglove (Digitalis). As a result, Aulacorthum solani is often one of the first aphid species to find on young plants in the spring.

The high toxicity of the saliva of the glasshouse - potato aphid may produce deformation and discoloration of leaves being fed upon. This results in direct feeding damage to potatoes and peppers. Aulacorthum solani can also be a vector of about 40 plant viruses, but its relatively poor virus transmission efficiency makes it unimportant as a virus vector in the field. Its importance is much greater in glasshouses. Its distribution is virtually cosmopolitan.


Other aphids on same host:


Our particular thanks to Roger Blackman for images of his clarified slide mounts.

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).

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Identification requests

David Fenwick, 22 March 2013, Lipaphis

Not nice weather today but it improved here and it got to 10C again, warm enough for what looks like Lipaphis erysimi on Thale Cress, Arabidopsis thaliana.

Images copyright all rights reserved.


Bob, InfluentialPoints:

  • Nice piccies - but I don't think it's Lipaphis.

    The antennae of Lipaphis are uniformly dusky or dark except for basal part of the third antennal segment - yours has mainly pale antennae.

    The cauda of Lipaphis is dark - yours is pale. Moreover the cauda of Lipaphis erysimi is 0.6-0.9 x length of siphunculi - yours is much shorter.

    I think your aphid is the highly polyphagous Aulacorthum solani. Although Blackman does not list it for Arabidopsis, it does occur on other Brassicaceae and it is commonly found very early in the year since it overwinters as nymphs or apterae.