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Aphidinae : Macrosiphini : Cryptaphis poae


Cryptaphis poae

Bristly cryptic grass aphid

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

Identification & Distribution

Adult apterae of Cryptaphis poae (see two pictures below) are variably coloured - shiny green mottled with red, yellowish with brownish markings or brownish black. The antennae are dark, apart from segments I, II and the basal part of III. Antennae are 1.3-1.5 times the body length, with a terminal process 4.5-5.6 times the base of antennal segment VI; secondary rhinaria on segment III are distributed 1-3 on basal third of segment III, 0 on segments IV & V. Hairs on antennal segment III are variable in length, 0.3-1.3 times the basal diameter of that segment (cf. Cryptaphis bromi in Canada, which has these hairs 1.6-2.1 times the basal diameter). The rostrum reaches nearly to the hind coxae, with the apical rostral segment 1.0-1.3 times the second hind tarsal segment. The dorsum is sclerotic, smooth, with numerous long thick capitate hairs with 'partly black' apices. Siphunculi are straight or slightly curved, rather thin, 0.18-0.21 times the body, 2.1-2.5 times the cauda, and have a broad flange. The cauda is triangular with a narrow, rather pointed apical part, with 5 hairs. Body length of adult Cryptaphis poae apterae is 1.3-2.0 mm.

First image above copyright Anders Albrecht, under a Creative Commons licence
second image by permission, copyright Roger Blackman.

The alate vivipara of Cryptaphis poae (see clarified mount below) is brownish, with broad, more-or-less fused, not very dark, cross bars and small marginal sclerites sometimes touching the crossbars. The antennae are about 1.4-1.5 times the body, with about 4-8 flat secondary rhinaria on the basal 0.67-0.75, and none on segments IV & V. Dorsal hairs on the mid-dorsum are capitate.

Image above by permission, copyright Roger Blackman.

Cryptaphis poae is monoecious on various grass species, in genera such as Festuca, Holcus and Poa. The aphids live in small colonies at the bases of plants just below soil level, or under stones, and usually in shady, damp situations. The species is holocyclic, with oviparae and apterous males in October. Cryptaphis poae is widespread in Europe.


Other aphids on the same host

Cryptaphis poae has been recorded from 2 Holcus species (Holcus lanatus, Holcus mollis).

Cryptaphis poae has been recorded on 1 species of Poa (Poa trivialis)


We are grateful to Anders Albrecht for making his image of Cryptaphis poae available for use under a creative commons licence.

We have used the species accounts given by Heie (1994) together 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 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


  • Heie, O.E. (1994). The Aphidoidea (Hemiptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. V. Family Aphididae: Part 2 of tribe Macrosiphini of subfamily Aphidinae. Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica 28 (p. 119)