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Aulacorthum solani

Glasshouse - potato aphid, Foxglove aphid

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

Identification & Distribution:

Aulacorthum solani apterae are pear shaped and shiny greenish yellow, usually with a bright green or rust coloured patch at the base of each siphunculus. Their antennae have darkened joints and are slightly longer than the body. Their siphunculi are pale with dark tips, long, slender, tapered and distinctly flanged. The body length of Aulacorthum solani apterae is 1.5-3.0 mm.

The winged forms have darker antennae, legs and siphunculi and have a variably developed pattern of tranverse dark bars on the dorsal abdomen. The images below are of Aulacorthum solani apterae 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.

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.

Aulacorthum solani is extremely polyphagous, it will colonise plants in may different dicotyledonous and monocotyledonous families. 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:

  • Aulacorthum solani has been recorded on at least 10 Solanum species.

    Blackman & Eastop list 23 species of aphid as feeding on potato (Solanum tuberosum) worldwide, and provide formal identification keys (Show World list). Of those aphid species, Baker (2015) lists perhaps 21 as occurring in Britain (Show British list).

  • Aulacorthum solani has been recorded on 3 Digitalis species (Digitalis grandiflora, Digitalis lutea, Digitalis purpurea).

    Blackman & Eastop list 14 species of aphid as feeding on foxglove (Digitalis species) worldwide, and provide formal identification keys (Show World list). Of those aphid species, Baker (2015) lists 13 as occurring in Britain (Show British list).


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).

Useful weblinks


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 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.