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Calaphidinae : Calaphidini : Calaphis neobetulella


Calaphis neobetulella

Blotched river birch aphid

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

Identification & Distribution

All adult Calaphis neobetulella viviparae are alate (see two pictures below). The adults are greenish yellow, with one median and two lateral broad black stripes over the head and thorax, close together on the pronotum, well separated on the mesonotum and coalescing on the metanotum (cf. Calaphis betulaecolens, which has no black stripes on the dorsum). Their antennal tubercles are well developed. The antennae have 11-21, small, elliptical, secondary rhinaria on the basal half of antennal segment III. The hairs on antennal segment III are slightly less than half as long as the basal diameter of that segment. The rostrum reaches the middle pair of coxae, with the apical segment (RIV+V) distinctly shorter than second joint of hind tarsus (HTII). On the abdominal dorsum there is a large black blotch (a sclerite) on tergites IV and V, and sometimes smaller dark sclerites on tergites I, III, and VI-VIII (cf. Calaphis betulella, which has transverse black bands bordering the anterior and posterior margins of tergites IV and V, but no large black blotch). There are dark marginal sclerites on tergites I-V. The femora have black stripes, and the tibiae and tarsi are black. The forewing has the pterostigma blackish at the inner margin, and all other veins are narrowly bordered with black. The siphunculi are black, slightly tapered with enlarged bases, and without a flange. The cauda is knobbed, and the anal plate bilobed. The body length of adult Calaphis neobetulella alatae is 2-2.5 mm.

Images above copyright Bill Keim, under a creative commons licence.

Calaphis neobetulella is more or less monophagous on river birch (Betula nigra), although alatae have occasionally been found on other Betula species. Like Calaphis betulella it feeds on the undersides of the leaves. It is so far unclear how the niches of these two Calaphis species differs. Calaphis neobetulella is holocyclic, with alate males and apterous oviparae occurring in September. The distribution of the blotched river birch aphid is restricted to states in the north-eastern USA.


Other aphids on the same host

Calaphis neobetulella occurs on one birch species (Betula nigra).

Blackman & Eastop list 8 species of aphid as feeding on river birch (Betula nigra) worldwide, and provide formal identification keys (Show World list). Of those aphid species, Baker (2015) lists 3 as occurring in Britain (Show British list).


We are grateful to Bill Keim for making his images of Calaphis neobetulella available for use under a creative commons licence.

Identification was made on the Bugguide site by Bill Keim and Natalie Hernandez. We have used the species account of Quednau (1971) along with information from 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 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


  • Quednau (1971). New and little-known aphids from eastern North America. Canadian Entomologist 103, 1083-1106. Abstract