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Genus Baizongia

Baizongia aphids

On this page: Genus Baizongia Baizongia pistaciae

Baizongia [Fordini]

Baizongia aphids produce large galls on their primary host, Pistacia species. In summer they host alternate to grasses where they feed on the roots. In northern areas the populations are anholocyclic on grass roots. The adult apterae on roots have well-developed wax pore-plates, much like Aploneura. The anal aperture is dorsal (as in Geoica) with the hairs on the anal plate and abdominal tergite VIII forming a trophobiotic organ to retain droplets of honeydew until they are removed by ants. The apterae have 5-segmented antennae and the alatae have 6-segmented antennae. These aphids, like for example Forda, Geoica, Paracletus, Prociphilus and some Trama, have no siphunculi. Baizongia alatae hold their wings roof-like when at rest, and the pterostigma has a dark central patch.

Very large populations of Baizongia develop in large, elongate horn-like galls on Pistacia species. Favoured hosts are Pistacea palaestina, Pistacea lentiscus and Pistaceia terebinthus in the Mediterranean, and Pistacea integerrima in northern India.

 

Baizongia pistaciae (Pistacia horn gall aphid)

Baizongia pistaciae produces large, horn-shaped galls (see first picture below) on Pistacia trees. Adult apterae of Baizongia pistaciae are plump-bodied, whitish or pale yellow with brown head, prothorax, antennae, legs and anal region pale brown, producing wax in short threads (see second picture below). The body and appendages have sparse hairs, all with pointed apices. The body length of adult Baizongia pistaciae apterae is 1.6-2.3 mm.

First image above, by permission, copyright Brian Eversham all rights reserved.
Second image above copyright Luis Fernandez Garcia under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
Third image above, by permission, copyright George Konstantinou all rights reserved.

Alate Baizongia pistaciae, which develop in the gall from September to November (see third picture above), have a variably developed series of short dark abdominal cross-bars. The pterostigma has a dark central patch. The terminal process of the antenna is 0.35-0.45 times the length of the base of the last segment. The apical rostral segment (RIV+V) is 0.6-0.9 times the length of the second segment of the hind tarsus. Dorsal hairs are all with pointed apices.

Baizongia pistaciae host alternates from pistachio trees (Pistacia) to grass roots. Among the grasses colonised are species of Agrostis, Avena, Corynephorus, Dactylis, Festuca and Poa. Baizongia pistaciae colonies are attended by ants, especially Lasius flavus, and may overwinter in ants' nests. Host-alternating populations occur in the Mediterranean area, and in north-west India. Anholocyclic populations are found on grass roots in many parts of the world including Europe, north Africa, Kenya, India and Pakistan.

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Acknowledgements

We have made provisional 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 sp 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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References

  • Blackman, R.L. & Eastop, V.F. (2006). Aphids on the world's herbaceous plants and shrubs. Vols 1 and 2. John Wiley & Sons.