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Hormaphidinae : Cerataphidini : Ceratoglyphina styracicola


Ceratoglyphina styracicola

Cauliflower gall aphid

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


The fundatrices of Ceratoglyphina styracicola feed on corkleaf snowbell (Styrax suberifolius) inducing multiple cavity galls consisting of several subgalls (see first picture below) (cf. Cerataphis jamuritsu, which produces single cavity galls). The subgalls are large, almost globular, somewhat like a compact cauliflower head, 55-80 mm in diameter, in clusters arising from the stem. Ramified coral-like projections develop from the inner wall of each subgall, and they outgrow the original subgall's cavity to form the 'head' outward. The outer surface of the gall is coated completely with white wax powder, probably due to the activity of numerous soldiers (cf. galls of Astegopteryx bambusae, Pseudoregma bambucicola and Pseudoregma koshunensis, all on Styrax suberifolius, which are not covered with white wax).

Note: In the earlier literature Ceratoglyphina styracicola is referred to as Astegopteryx styracicola.

Images above by permission, copyright Aoki & Kurosu, all rights reserved.

Their gall-dwelling apterae (not pictured) are described by Takahashi (1924) as being yellowish-brown with black eyes, pale antennae and legs. The antennae are 5-segmented. The rostrum almost reaches the second pair of coxae. The siphunculi are very short and the cauda is short, broadly rounded and not constricted at its base. The anal plate is not bilobed. After some months the galls also produce emigrant alatae (not pictured) which are described by Takahashi (1921). The head and mesothorax are black, the eyes are reddish brown and very large, and the antennae are dusky and 5-segmented. The head is without horns. The rostrum reaches beyond the first pair of coxae. The first and second oblique veins of the forewings are united at their base, and the hind wings have 2 divergent obliques. Siphunculi are absent. The cauda is short, much wider than long, and the anal plate is not bilobed. They have 17-23 secondary rhinaria on antennal segment III, 6-9 on segment IV, and 4-8 on segment V. Antennal segment V also has a very small primary rhinarium (cf. Cerataphis brasiliensis on Styrax benzoin, which has only 0-4 secondary rhinaria on segment V, with the primary rhinarium, extending across more than half width of the segment).

Images above by permission, copyright Aoki & Kurosu, all rights reserved.

The migrating alatae fly to bamboo where apterae are produced. Apterae on bamboo (see picture above) are oval-bodied, grey-brown with pale brown legs with a flat fringe of white wax. The head of the aptera has a pair of forwardly-directed frontal horns. The frontal horns are at least twice as long as antennal segment II, and bear 8-10 hairs, the longest of which is 22-33 μm. The dorsal abdomen has only marginal rows of wax glands. The siphunculi have 4-6 surrounding hairs. The cauda is rounded and the anal plate is entire. Ceratoglyphina styracicola does not have soldiers on its secondary host.


Biology & distribution

Inside each subgall on the primary host is a labyrinth of green plant tissue which maximizes the feeding area available to the aphids. These may number 200,000 per gall, and include yellowish-brown adult apterae, immatures developing normally, and strongly sclerotised 'biters' (soldiers). These soldiers, which do not usually undergo development beyond the second instar, make up approximately half the aphids in the gall. The forelegs of the soldiers are not thickened (cf. Pseudoregma bambucicola & Pseudoregma koshunensis, the soldiers of which have thickened forelegs). The aphids readily wander from these galls and may invade galls of other species such as Astegopteryx bambusae on the same plant (Kurosu & Aoki 1990). The 'biters' are so-named following observations made by Aoki et al. (1977) and Aoki (1979) that 45 out of 50 soldiers placed on the hand bit the skin, compared to 1 out of 50 apterae. The bites can cause troublesome irritation to humans, and may be sufficient to repel some vertebrate predators.

The gall grows very slowly and produces no alates within the first year. From the end of November of the next year, 16 months after the gall formation, the gall begins to produce alates. Once their production begins, the gall continues to produce alates until the end of May at the latest. The alatae migrate to the secondary host, bamboo (Pleioblastus spp.) where they produce dense colonies of apterae. From the end of May to early June the apterae on bamboo produce sexuparae which fly back to the primary host, Styrax. However, some probably persist on the secondary host throughout the year. Ceratoglyphina styracicola has only been recorded from Taiwan.


Other aphids on the same host

Primary host

The only recorded primary host of Ceratoglyphina styracicola is Styrax suberifolius.

Secondary hosts

The only recorded secondary host of Ceratoglyphina styracicola is an unidentified bamboo (Pleioblastus sp.).

  • Blackman & Eastop list 8 species of aphid as feeding on Pleioblastus worldwide, and provide formal identification keys (Show World list). He does not, however, include Ceratoglyphina styracicola as one of the aphids feeding on it, so we have added it to the list presented here. Of those aphid species, Baker (2015) lists 3 as occurring in Britain (Show British list).


We are grateful to Utako Kurosu & Shigeyuki Aoki for providing images from Aoki & Kurosu (2010) for this page - and to Aoki for his most helpful comments.

We have used the keys and species accounts of Takahashi (1921), Takahashi (1924) (both as Astegopteryx styracicola), Aoki et al. (1998) & Aoki & Kurosu (2010) together with those of 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


  • Aoki, S. et al. (1977). On the biters of Astegopteryx styracicola (Homoptera, Aphidoidea). Kontyu, Tokyo 45(4), 563-570. Full text

  • Aoki, S. (1979). Further observations on Astegopteryx styracicola (Homoptera: Pemphigidae), an aphid species with soldiers biting man. Kontyu 47(2), 99-104. Full text

  • Aoki, S. & Kurosu, U. (2010). A review of the biology of Cerataphidini (Hemiptera, Aphididae, Hormaphidinae), focusing mainly on their life cycles, gall formation, and soldiers. Psyche 2010, Article ID 380381, 34 pp. Full text

  • Aoki, S. et al. (1998). Cerataphis jamuritsu, a subtropical aphid producing soldiers in large hard galls (Homoptera). Entomological Science 1(3), 327-333. Full text

  • Kurosu, U. and Aoki, S. (1990). Transformation of the galls of Astegopteryx bambucifoliae by another aphid, Ceratoglyphina bambusae. Acta Phytopathologica et Entomologica Hungarica, 25 (1-4), 113-122.

  • Takahashi, R. (1921). Aphididae of Formosa Part 1. Report of the Department of Agriculture Government Research Institute Formosa 20 p.94 (as Astegopteryx styracicola) Full text

  • Takahashi, R. (1924). Aphididae of Formosa Part 3. Report of the Department of Agriculture Government Research Institute Formosa 10 p.92 (as Astegopteryx styracicola) Full text