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Lachninae : Eulachnini : Cinara kochiana


Identification & Distribution

Apterae of Cinara kochiana are greyish-brown to lead grey or greyish-green (see first picture below), and are slightly wax powdered. The dorsum shows a distinct dark flecked patterning of scleroites and there is often a spinal stripe. The extraordinary long rostrum is held curving underneath the body (see third picture below). The fourth rostral segment (RIV) is 0.29-0.42 mm long and bears 21-34 hairs arranged in 4 longitudinal rows (cf. Cinara cuneomaculata, in which R IV is 0.15-0.25 mm long and bears 5-11 hairs arranged in 2 longitudinal rows). The legs are hairy and the hind tibiae are either entirely dark brown, or with a short slighly paler base (cf. Cinara cuneomaculata, which has the hind tibiae dark distally but pale basally for 0.3-0.4 of their length). The siphuncular cones are small and black. The body length of Cinara kochiana is 4.7-6.1 mm.

The alate (see second picture above) has white wax markings on the dorsum of the abdomen.

Cinara kochiana is found on various larch species, including Larix decidua. Most reports state it occurs in ant attended colonies in bark crevices on the lower part of the trunk or bases of older branches, or in midsummer on exposed roots. Oviparae and winged or wingless males occur in October-November and eggs laid in bark crevices. Durak (2014) notes that Cinara kochiana is one of only five out of about 200 Cinara species to have both winged and wingless males. Cinara kochiana has been reported from most parts of Europe except Spain and Portugal, but is considered rather rare. It occurs as a subspecies in Korea.


Biology & Ecology:

There have been few recent observations on this aphid, and we know of no detailed studies on the ecology of the giant larch aphid. Borowiak & Wilkaniec (2010) recorded the species in the latter part of October in Cytadela Park in Poland. We have only found this species twice, from July to October 2014 and in autumn 2020, both in a mixed forest in East Sussex, UK.

They occurred where the bark was shaded by other vegetation.

Contrary to most other reports, in 2014 we found colonies on the older lower side branches (about 2 cm diameter) of a rather young partially fallen larch tree. None was found on the trunk or exposed roots of the tree. The colonies contained a mixture of all ages and morphs including many adult apterae (see picture below). In 2020 we found several small colonies on branch ends 2-2.5 m above ground - but there was evidence of an earlier larger colony on the lower trunk.

The colonies were attended by large numbers of southern wood ants (Formica rufa).

Kloft (1960) noted the importance of Cinara kochiana as honeydew providers for bees and ants. Breen (2014) reports that Cinara kochiana was attended by hairy wood ants (Formica lugubris) in Ireland.

Pontin (1960) found a heavily parasitized population on larch roots. Our observations also suggest that the presence of attending ants does not provide as good protection to the giant larch aphid from parasites and predators as for example in the case of Cinara piceicola. The picture below shows a parasitized aphid in the colony we found.

Predators were also present, in particular a syrphid larva (see below).

Graham Rotheray commented on this larva "This is an early stage larva that hasn't developed all the features I need to be certain of its identity. Only three genera have the upright projections along the body shown in the image, Didea, Eriozona and Megasyrphus. But which of these genera the larva belongs to I can't really tell. ... simply on the grounds of abundance, it is most likely to be a Didea". (18 Aug 2014)


Other aphids on same host:

Cinara kochiana have been recorded from 5 Larix species (Larix decidua, Larix gmelinii, Larix kaempferi, Larix kamtschatica, Larix sibirica).

Blackman & Eastop list 10 species of aphid as feeding on European larch (Larix decidua) worldwide, and provide formal identification keys (Show World list).

Of those aphid species, Baker (2015) lists 6 as occurring in Britain (Show British list).


Damage and control

Rozhkov & Mikhailova (1993) note that Cinara kochiana has been recorded as one of the aphid species damaging larch trees in coniferous forests polluted with fluorides in Eastern Siberia. However, its presence probably resulted from the already damaged state of the trees resulting from the fluoride pollution. Cinara kochiana is a rare species and ought probably be given protected status.


Whilst we make every effort to ensure that identifications are correct, we cannot absolutely warranty their accuracy. We have mostly made identifications from high resolution photos of living specimens, along with host plant identity. In the great majority of cases, identifications have been confirmed by microscopic examination of preserved specimens. We have used the keys and species accounts of Blackman & Eastop (1994) and Blackman & Eastop (2006) supplemented with Blackman (1974), Stroyan (1977), Stroyan (1984), Blackman & Eastop (1984), Heie (1980-1995), Dixon & Thieme (2007) and Blackman (2010). We fully acknowledge these authors 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


  •  Borowiak,B.B. & Wilkaniec, B. (2010). Occurrence of aphids/Hemiptera, Aphidoidea/ on tree and shrubs in Cytadela Park in Poznan. Aphids and other hemipterous insects. 16, 27-35. Full text

  •  Breen, J. (2014). Species dossier, range and distribution data for the Hairy Wood Ant, Formica lugubris, in Ireland. Irish Wildlife Manuals No. 68. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Ireland, 75-83. Full text

  •  Durak, R. (2014). Life cycle, seasonal and interannual polymorphism in a monoecious aphid Cinara mordvilkoi (Hemiptera: Aphidoidea: Lachnidae). European Journal of Entomology 111(3), 357-362. Full text

  •  Kloft, W. et al. (1960). Notes on Central European lachnids. Beitrage zur Entomologie 10(1/2), 161-168. Abstract

  •  Pontin, A.J. (1960). Observations on the keeping of aphid eggs by ants of the genus Lasius. Entomologist's Monthly Magazine (London) 96, 198-199.

  •  Rozhkov, A.S. & Mikhailova, T.A. (1993). The role of insects in fluorine-damaged stands. pp.86-1005 in The effect of fluorine-containing emissions on conifers. Springer. Abstract