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Aphidinae : Macrosiphini : Brachycaudus aconiti


Brachycaudus aconiti

Black monkshood aphid

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

Identification & Distribution

Adult apterae of Brachycaudus aconiti (see picture below) have a light brown head and a shining black sclerotic abdominal dorsum, with the underside of the abdomen and the antennae, legs and siphunculi also black (cf. Brachycaudus napelli, which has an extensive black sclerotic shield over most of the dorsum, but the posterior, and much of the underside, are dark crimson). Antennal tubercles are low. The antennae are about 0.6 times body length with the terminal process about 3.1-3.5 times the base of antennal segment VI. There are 0-8 (but more on alatiform specimens) secondary rhinaria on antennal segment III (cf. Brachycaudus napelli, which has 10-25 rhinaria on segment III). The longest hair on antennal segment III is 0.8-1.2 times the maximum diameter of that segment. The rostrum reaches to the hind coxae or nearly so. The apical rostral segment (RIV+V) is 1.1-1.3 (1.6) times as long as the second hind tarsal segment (HTII) with 7-9 accessory hairs (cf. Brachycaudus napelli, which has RIV+V 0.9-1.2 times the length of HTII). There are marginal tubercles on the prothorax and some abdominal segments. The siphunculi are about 0.11-0.12 times the body length and 2.3-2.6 times the caudal length. The cauda is short, rounded, pentagonal with 10-13 hairs. The body length of adult Brachycaudus aconiti apterae is 2.7-2.9 mm.

Image above copyright Brbol under a creative common licence.

There is no description available of the alatae Brachycaudus aconiti, but they are likely similar to the closely related Brachycaudus napelli. They bear 7-13 secondary rhinaria on antennal segment III. Immatures are green with a light brown head.

For more pictures of Brachycaudus aconiti see:

Brachycaudus aconiti is monoecious on Aconitum spp. and Delphinium spp. It mainly feeds on the flower stems and leaf petioles, and rarely on the undersides of leaves. The species is holocyclic, with apterous males and oviparae. Brachycaudus aconiti is found in central, south and south-east Europe, Central Asia and Siberia.


Other aphids on the same host

Brachycaudus aconiti has been recorded from 16 Aconitum (Monkshood, Wolfsbane) species.

Brachycaudus aconiti has also been recorded from Consolida regalis(=forking larkspur, rocket-larkspur, field larkspur).


We are grateful to Brbol for making his image available under a creative commons licence.

We have used the keys and species accounts of Stroyan (1964) and Heie (1992), together with those of Roger Blackman & Victor Eastop in Aphids on Worlds Plants. We fully acknowledge these authors (see references below) 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 (200

Useful weblinks


  • Heie, Ole E. (1995). The Aphidoidea (Hemiptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. VI. Family Aphididae: Part 3 of tribe Macrosiphini of subfamily Aphidinae, and family Lachnidae. Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica 31, 174.

  • Stroyan, H.L.G. (1964). A note on two Aconitum aphids from Jugoslavia. The Entomologist 97, 129-130.