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Aphididae : Aphidinae : Hyalopterus
 

 

Genus Hyalopterus

Mealy plum - reed aphids

On this page: Hyalopterus pruni

Genus Hyalopterus [Aphidini]

Hyalopterus are small to medium sized elongate aphids, the adult viviparae of which may be winged or wingless. They are usually pale green mottled with darker green and most are covered with a white waxy meal. The antennae are shorter than the body, and the siphunculi are very short, thicker and darker towards their tips. The cauda is markedly longer than the siphunculi.

Hyalopterus are a small genus, with only 3 species. They may retain the sexual stage in the life cycle and alternate between plum (Prunus species) in winter/spring and common reed (Phragmites) in summer, or may live year round on either host. Hyalopterus aphids are not attended by ants. One species is an important pest of plum trees, which are affected by fungi growing on the honeydew-coated leaves.

 

Hyalopterus pruni (Mealy plum aphid, reed aphid)

The Hyalopterus pruni aptera is a small to medium sized aphid, 1.5 - 2.6 mm long, with an elongate shape. It is usually pale green with a fine darker green mottling, covered with wax meal (see first picture below), but on the summer host (reeds) there are dusky red as well as green forms (see second picture below). The antennae are quite short, between 0.5 - 0.75 times the body length. The siphunculi are very short, and are thicker and darker towards the apex; they are also flangeless and rounded at apex. The cauda is 1.5 - 3.0 times longer than the siphunculi.

The Hyalopterus pruni winged form (see third picture above) has the head and thorax blackish and the abdominal dorsum pale green, with a distinctly pigmented band across tergite 8 and traces of dark sclerites on tergites 6-7.

The mealy plum aphid host alternates between its winter host - Prunus species (mainly plum but also especially apricot, and perhaps peach or almond) and its summer host - mainly reeds (Phragmites), but also giant cane (Arundo donax) and some other wetland grasses. Some remain on plum all the year round. Hyalopterus pruni is cosmopolitan, but may have geographical races or subspecies.

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Acknowledgements

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).

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References

  • Stroyan, H.L.G. (1984). Aphids - Pterocommatinae and Aphidinae (Aphidini). Handbooks for the identification of British insects. 2(6). Royal Entomological Society of London.