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Aphidinae : Aphidini : Brachyunguis harmalae


Brachyunguis harmalae

Wild rue aphid

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

Identification & Distribution

Adult apterae of Brachyunguis harmalae are mid- to deep green anteriorly, but more yellowish on the posterior abdomen (see adult in first picture below). They are more-or-less dusted with wax powder. Two longitudinal rows of submarginal dark green spots extend from the siphunculi to the head. The antennal tubercles are very weakly developed. The antennae are short, with the terminal process shorter than the base of antennal segment VI. Secondary rhinaria are absent in apterous viviparous females. The apical rostral segment is shorter than the second segment of the hind tarsus. The prothorax bears marginal tubercles. The siphunculi are pale, truncated cones, usually about 0.4 - 0.6 times the caudal length (cf. Brachyunguis calligoni on Calligonum, which has siphunculi 0.20-0.25 times cauda; and cf. Brachyunguis lycii on Lycium, which has siphunculi usually 0.5-0.9 times the cauda - but see note below). The cauda is rather long and conical.

Note: We are somewhat sceptical about values given in published keys in Aphids on Worlds Plants for 'siphunculi length times cauda' since they seem to vary between keys for different hosts. For example, values given for Brachyunguis harmalae are 0.5-0.6 times cauda in Calotropis key, 0.4-0.7 times cauda in Calligonum key, and 0.3-0.5 times cauda in Lycium key. Values are taken from the final species-specific couplet in each case.

First image above copyright Faluke, second image copyright CBG Photography Group,
both under a Creative Commons - Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike License.

Alatae of Brachyunguis harmalae (see second picture above of preserved specimen) have the anterior half of the abdomen dark green, similar to the aptera. There are 3 pairs of clearly marked marginal sclerites. Antennal segment III bears 3-7 secondary rhinaria.

Images above copyright J. Philippe, under a Creative Commons License.

The pictures above show some Brachyunguis aphids being ant attended on goji berries (Lycium) in Morocco. These could be either Brachyunguis harmalae or Brachyunguis lycii but, since Brachyunguis lycii has so far only been recorded from Egypt, Brachyunguis harmalae seems the more likely. That said, Blackman casts some doubt on whether Brachyunguis harmalae and Brachyunguis lycii are actually different species.

For more pictures of Brachyunguis harmalae, see Biodiversidad.

Brachyunguis harmalae is monoecious, but the main host appears to vary regionally. In Pakistan the main host is wild rue (Peganum harmala), whilst in Central Asia it is found on Calligonum (Polygonaceae) and cotton (Gossypium). Populations in the Middle East, Africa Tunisia, Eritrea, Kenya, Sudan, Senegal) and on the Iberian peninsula colonise mostly xerophytic plants including Calligonum and Calotropis, and also grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) and goji berries (Lycium). Asian populations are mostly holocyclic with both apterous and alate males, but elsewhere they tend to be anholocyclic.


Other aphids on the same host

Brachyunguis harmalae has been recorded on 1 Peganum species (Peganum harmala).

Brachyunguis harmalae has been recorded on 2 Gossypium species (Gossypium herbaceum, Gossypium hirsutum).

Brachyunguis harmalae has been recorded on 9 Calligonum species (Calligonum aphyllum, Calligonum arborescens, Calligonum caput-medusea, Calligonum comosum, Calligonum eriopodum, Calligonum leucocladum, Calligonum mongolicum, Calligonum rubicundum, Calligonum setosum).

Brachyunguis harmalae has been recorded on 1 Calotropis species (Calotropis procera).

Brachyunguis harmalae has been recorded on 1 Lycium species (Lycium shawii).


We are grateful to hhbrun, CBG group and J. Philippe for making their images of Brachyunguis harmalae available for use under a creative commons licence.

We have used the species accounts given by Das (1918), together with information from Aldryhim & Khalil (1996), Kadyrbekov (2001) and Roger Blackman & Victor Eastop in Aphids on Worlds Plants. We fully acknowledge these authors and those listed in the reference sections as the source for the (summarized) taxonomic information we have presented. Any errors in 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


  • Aldryhim, Y.N. & Khalil, A.F. (1996). The Aphididae of Saudi Arabia. Fauna of Saudi Arabia 15, 161-195. Full text

  • Das, B. (1918). The Aphididae of Lahore. Memoirs of the Indian Museum 6 (4), 135-274. (p.246)

  • Kadyrbekov, R.Kh. (2001). Contribution to the systematic of the xerobiont supraspecific taxa from subtribe Aphidina (Homoptera, Aphididae). Tethys Entomological Research 3, 89-98.