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Aphidinae : Macrosiphini : Brachycorynella asparagi.


Brachycorynella asparagi

European asparagus aphid

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

Identification & Distribution

Adult apterae of Brachycorynella asparagi (see two pictures below) have a slender body and rather short appendages. They are coloured green and covered with grey mealy wax. The antennae are about 0.3 times body length, with the terminal process about 0.9-1.5 times the base of antennal segment VI. The apical rostral segment is about 0.6 times the second hind tarsal segment. The abdominal dorsum is reticulate, and body hairs are short. The siphunculi, which are barely visible in the pictures below, are very small truncated cones, only about 0.1-0.2 times the caudal length (cf. polyphagous species on asparagus e.g. Macrosiphum euphorbiae, Macrosiphum pallidum, Myzus ascalonicus, Myzus ornatus, and Myzus persicae, which all have siphunculi longer than the cauda). The cauda is elongate, and has 3-4 pairs of lateral hairs and 1 preapical hair. There is no supracaudal process. The body length of adult Brachycorynella asparagi apterae is 1.2-1.8 mm.

First image above by permission, copyright Ivan Pančić, all rights reserved;
Second image, copyright Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State Univ., Bugwood, under a Creative Commons License.

The alate Brachycorynella asparagi has relatively longer antennae than the aptera, about 0.6 times the body length. Antennal segment III bears about 5-10 secondary rhinaria, varying in sized - with the smallest half the size of the largest. The siphunculi are short and truncate.

Both images copyright Brendon Wray, Aphidnet under a Creative Commons License.

Brachycorynella asparagi is monoecious on asparagus (Asparagaceae). The species is holocyclic, with alate males and oviparae developing in autumn. The European asparagus aphid can be a severe pest of garden asparagus (Asparagus officinale, see below), but is common on other species in the genus Asparagus. The European asparagus aphid is found in much of Europe, North Africa, south-west and Central Asia and China, and has been introduced into North America, where it is established in the temperate parts.


Other aphids on the same host

Brachycorynella asparagi has been recorded on 8 asparagus species (Asparagus aethiopicus var sprengeri, Asparagus brachyphyllus, Asparagus neglectus, Asparagus officinalis, Asparagus orientalis, Asparagus persicus, Asparagus setaceus, Asparagus tenuifolius).


Damage and control

Brachycorynella asparagi is a serious pest of asparagus. Feeding of the aphid causes a characteristic distortion of the terminal bud termed 'rosetting' (=witches brooms) of asparagus, with the internodes being shortened and the leaves being both shortened and turned blue green. Strong aphid infestation can cause dieback of seedlings. Affected stems of mature plants develop imperfectly, become stunted and broom-like, with plants growing in the shape of a bush.

First image above copyright Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State Univ., Bugwood. Second image copyright Rasbak, via Wikimedia Commons.
Both under a Creative Commons License.

In the first picture above there is rosetting on the lower part of the asparagus plants, indicating presence of the asparagus aphid. The second picture shows normal growth.


We are grateful to Ivan Pančić for permitting us to use his image, and Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado University & Brendan Wray, AphidNet, for making their images available under creative commons licences.

We have used the keys and species accounts of Stoetzel (1990) 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 (2006).

Useful weblinks


  • Heie, Ole E. (1992). The Aphidoidea (Hemiptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. IV. Family Aphididae: Part I of tribe Macrosiphini and subfamily Aphidinae. Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica 25, 1-189 (p. 106).

  • Stoetzel, M.B. (1990). Some aphids of importance to the southeastern United States (Homoptera: Aphididae). Florida Entomologist 73(4), 580-586. (p. 582) Full text