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Mealy pine aphidOn this page: Identification & Distribution Biology & Ecology Other aphids on the same host
Identification & Distribution
Adult apterae of Cinara schimitscheki are broadly oval and somewhat flattened dorso-ventrally. They are brown, with four lateral longitudinal rows of black spots, and two spinal rows of smaller spots. The dorsum is covered with pale bluish-grey wax powder concentrated laterally and intersegmentally. Antennal hairs are fairly short, on segment 3 mostly shorter than the diameter of the segment. The rostrum (i.e. the sclerotised part of the stylet groove) is 2.3-2.5 mm long (cf. other pine feeding Cinara in which the rostrum is only 1.2-2.2 mm long). The fourth rostral segment (RIV) is 0.29-0.36 mm long. (cf. other pine feeding Cinara in which RIV is only 0.13-0.29 mm long) The dark, rather flat siphuncular cones are of moderate size (note the pictured specimens are immatures, hence the small siphunculi). The body length of adult Cinara schimitscheki apterae is 3.3-5.2 mm. Immatures (see first picture below) are also wax powdered like the adults.
The alate Cinara schimitscheki is also flattened dorso-ventrally and is covered with pale bluish-grey wax powder.
Cinara schimitscheki mainly feeds on Corsican Pine (Pinus nigra maritima), but may also be found on mountain pine (Pinus mugo), stone pine (Pinus pinea) or Bosnian pine (Pinus leucodermis). Oviparae have been found in autumn, but males are as yet undescribed. The mealy pine aphid is found throughout most of Europe, as well as in Turkey, the Crimea and in China.
Biology & Ecology
Cinara schimitscheki is cryptophilic (likes to hide), normally concealing itself under loose bark (see pictures below).
In the spring, they have been found among previous years needles, although we found the immature aphids shown above and below under bark in early spring (March).
The pictures above were taken at Bedgebury Pinetum in Kent, but we have found Cinara schimitscheki on one other occasion - in the New Forest. On that occasion the aphids moved rapidly once the bark was removed.
The aphis that we have found in Britain under the bark of Pinus nigra were not being attended by ants. However, in Hungary Szathmary et al. (2005) reported that Cinara schimitscheki was attended by Formica rufibarbis.
Other aphids on same host:
Blackman & Eastop list Cinara schimitscheki on 6 pine species (Pinus heldreichii, massoniana, mugo, nigra, pinea, tabuliformis) worldwide, and provide formal identification keys.