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Identification & Distribution

Adult apterae of Cinara laportei are broadly oval and flattened dorso-ventrally, pale brown and grey with black segmental markings (see first picture below). The body surface is covered with short colourless clavate (=club-shaped) setae. These have been described as 'mace-like' because each one has numerous barbules arising from its swollen distal end (these can be seen on the live aphid in the first picture below and close-up in the third micrograph below). The aphid is often described as having a "narrow pale spinal stripe" from the head to the anterior abdomen. The apparent spinal (and sometimes dorso-lateral) stripes appear to result from an unusually high density of setae combined with a waxy (?) deposit. The siphuncular cones are quite large with darkened apices but are rather inconspicuous on the dark dorsum. Cinara laportei is a small species with the body length of adult apterae only 1.5-2.0 mm.

Note: Cedrobium was proposed as an alternative genus for this species on the basis that some of its characteristics were not found in other Cinara species, namely its 5-segmented antennae, strongly sclerotic tergites and unusual clavate setae. However, biochemical studies indicate that Cedrobium should be treated as a subgenus within genus Cinara.

The alate Cinara laportei (see second picture below) are also small and appear to lack the clavate setae found on the aptera.

Cinara laportei forms small dense colonies on twigs and on small shoots of lower branches of cedars (Cedrus species, see third picture of live aphids above). Sexuales are produced in October at high altitudes in Morocco, but over most of its currrent range Cinara laportei is thought to reproduce parthenogenetically throughout the year. It is native to the Atlas Mountains in North Africa where it occurs on the Atlantic cedar (Cedrus atlantica), but has been expanding its range and is now found over most of Europe, and North and South Africa.

 

Biology & Ecology

Life cycle

At low altitudes Cinara laportei appear to overwinter as viviparae, reproducing parthenogenetically. Colonies develop further in early spring, increasing in numbers until peaking in June-July. In higher elevations sexuales develop in autumn, and the aphids overwinter as black eggs deposited on the needles. The summer peak is somewhat later in mountain areas. In Israel the population almost disappears in the second half of the summer before becoming conspicuous again in February. Binazzi & Pennachio (1996) found them in summer during 'aestivation periods' on the roots of the host plant.

We first found the brown cedar aphid in June on Atlantic cedar (Cedrus atlantica) at Bedgebury Pinetum in Kent.

The aphid colonies were mainly on small twigs. The picture below shows a third instar nymph of Cinara laportei.

There were a surprising number of developing alates in the colonies. The picture below shows two fourth instar immature alatae.

By July there were fewer aphids in the colonies, and they were mainly adult apterae.

By August the colonies had completely disappeared.

Ant attendance

There is very little in the literature about ant attendance of Cinara laportei apart from Notario et al. (1984) who indicate that they are sometimes, but not not always, attended by ants.

The Cinara laportei we found at Bedgebury Pinetum were attended by ants (Lasius sp.) (see picture above), but only fairly loosely, and the ants made no attempt to defend the colonies if they were disturbed.

Natural enemies

In 1977 a parasitoid of Cinara laporteri, Pauesia cedrobii was found for the first time in Morocco (Starý & Leclant 1977). This was introduced into the south-east of France for the biological control of Cinara laportei (see below).

We observed no predators or parasitoids attacking the colonies of Cinara laporteri at Bedgebury Pinetum - but found empty mummies in early October.

 

Other aphids on the same host

Cinara laportei has been recorded from 4 Cedrus species: Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica), deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara), Cyprus cedar (Cedrus brevifolia) and cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani), although it is mostly found on the first two of those.

Blackman & Eastop list 7 species of aphid as feeding on cedars (Cedrus spp.) worldwide. Baker (2015) lists 5 of those aphid species as occurring in Britain: Cinara curvipes, Cinara cedri, Cinara confinis, Cinara laportei and Illinoia morrisoni.

 

Damage and control

Outside its native range, Cinara laportei infestations can damage or even kill cedar trees. Trees infested with Cinara laportei often have their lower branches covered in sooty mould which has grown on the abundant honeydew (Mendel, et al., 2016). More importantly, when feeding the aphid injects a toxin, and heavy infestations cause rapid needle loss.

Fabre et al. (1988) investigated the susceptibility of various cedars to infestation with Cinara laportei and Cinara cedri. They found important differences between Cedrus species in their susceptibility to Cinara laportei infestations. Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica) can be easily attacked as can deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara). On the other hand, Cyprus cedar (Cedrus brevifolia) and cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) are not attacked by Cinara laportei and seem resistant under natural conditions. There were also some differences in susceptibility between different provenances of trees for the two species of aphids.

In its native North Africa predators such as chrysopids and coccinellids are thought to maintain aphid densities below damaging levels. However, when the aphid was first introduced to Europe (France in particular) in 1991, no effective predators or parasitoids were present. The stage was set for a classical biological control operation. Fabre & Rabasse 1987 collected live specimens of parasitoid Pauesia cedrobii from the High Atlas range of Morocco for introduction into a stand of cedar (Cedrus atlantica Manetti) in the south-east of France. The parasite was collected as mummified aphids and kept in a climatised room for emergence in order to get rid of hyperparasites. After copulation, 225 adults were released in sleeve cages put on branches with colonies of Cinara laportei. The development of host and of parasite population was followed both at the point of release and in the general area. The definitive establishment of the parasite in the area occurred 1 year after release aided by a particularly mild autumn and winter, which promoted the multiplication of the host. The parasite was definitely established and was still present 4 years after the release. During this time it was dispersed to other cedar forests in the south-east of France. Eight species of local hyperparasites attacked Pauesia cedrobii, but this did not affect the success of the introduction. Subsequently the wasp spread fast and twelve years later it was found in the forests of Vincennes, 600 km away from the original introduction (Remaudière & Starý, 1993).

As with other Cinara aphids, their presence on trees is sometimes viewed positively. Despite their potential harm to their host plants, insect species producing honeydew including Cinara laportei play an important role in honey production in Turkey (Unal, S. et al., 2017). Turkish honey is exported to EU countries and furthermore beekeeping is an important part of agricultural sector in Turkey.

Acknowledgements

We especially thank the UK Forestry Commission Bedgebury Pinetum for their kind assistance, and permission to sample.

We have made provisional 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

References

  • Binazzi, A. & Pennachio, F. (1996). Note su alcuni lacnidi cinarini della Sardegna Nord-Orientale (Homoptera Aphididae). Redia 79, 187-193.

  • Fabre, J.P. et al. (1988). Possibilites d'infestation par les pucerons : Cedrobium laportei Remaudiere, Cinara cedri Mimeur (Homoptera, Lachnidae), chez le genre Cedrus. Ann Sci For. 45(2), 125-140. Full text

  • Fabre, J.P. & Rabasse, J.M. (1987). Introduction dans le sud-est de la France d'un parasite: Pauesia cedrobii (Hym.: Aphidiidae] du puceron: Cedrobium laportei (Hom.: Lachnidae) du cèdre de l'atlas: Cedrus atlantica. Entomophaga 32, 127-141. Abstract

  • Mendel, Z. et al. (2016). Invasive sap-sucker insects in the Mediterranean Basin. In: Paine, T.D. & Lieutier, F. (Eds). Insects and Diseases of Mediterranean Forest Systems. Springer Full text

  • Notario, A. et al. (1984). Los pulgones del cedro: Cinara cedri Mimeur y Cedrobium laportei Remaudière.- Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentacion, Instituto Nacional para la Conservacion de la Naturaleza (ICONA), Monografia n. 33: 1-75.

  • Remaudière, G. & Starý, P. (1993). Arrivée spontanée en région parisienne de l'hyménoptère Aphidiide Pauesia cedrobii, parasite du puceron du cèdre Cedrobium laportei. Revue Francaise d'Entomologie (Nouvelle Serie) 15, 157-158.

  • Starý, P. & Leclant, F. (1977).. Pauesia (Pauesia) cedrobii, n. sp.. Premier parasite connu du puceron de cèdre Cedrobium laportei Remaudière (Hym. Aphidiidae). Ann Soc Entomol. Fr. (N.S.) 13, 159-163.

  • Unal, S. et al. (2017). Some forest trees for honeydew production in Turkey. Siberian Journal of Forest Science N4, 101-110. Full text