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Aphididae : Aphidinae : Macrosiphini : Cryptosiphum


Genus Cryptosiphum

Artemisia gall aphids

On this page: Cryptosiphum artemisiae

Cryptosiphum [Macrosiphini]

Cryptosiphum are rather small oval aphids that live within galls on mugworts (Artemisia species). Both apterae and alatae are covered in wax. Living in galls has resulted in a reduction of appendages (for example they have short legs and antennae) and other characters.

Worldwide, 8 or 9 Cryptosiphum species have been described. They feed on and gall several different Artemisia species. In central and western Europe different Cryptosiphum species utilise common mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) and field wormwood (Artemisia campestris). A further five Cryptosiphum speciues utilise a variety of Artemisia species in Asia.


Cryptosiphum artemisiae (Mugwort gall aphid)

The aphid Cryptosiphum artemisiae produces, and lives within, large deep red globular leaf galls on mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris, see first picture below). The adult apterae are almost globular, dark red to brownish black, and powdered with greyish wax (see second picture below). The head, antennae, legs, tergite 8 and cauda have brownish pigmentation. The antennae are only about 0.25 times the body length with a terminal process that is 0.3-0.7 times the length of the base of the last antennal segment. Like most other Artemisia feeding aphids, the terminal fused segment of the rostrum, (RIV+V), is acutely pointed with concave sides. The siphunculi are reduced to very small pores which are hardly visible, and the cauda is broadly rounded. The body length of adult Cryptosiphum artemisiae apterae is 1.1-1.9 mm.

First image above copyright Gansucha, all rights reserved.

The Cryptosiphum artemisiae alate is also dark red to black, and is covered in wax although less thickly than on the aptera. Its antennae are about 0.5 times body length, and segment III has about 15 secondary rhinaria along the entire segment.

Cryptosiphum artemisiae feeds all year round on mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) or rarely on field wormwood (Artemisia campestris) forming red leaf galls. Oviparae and alate males are produced in September to October. The mugwort gall aphid is found throughout Europe and Asia.



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 sp 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


  • Blackman, R.L. & Eastop, V.F. (2006). Aphids on the world's herbaceous plants and shrubs. Vols 1 and 2. John Wiley & Sons.