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Aphidinae : Aphidini : Hysteroneura setariae


Hysteroneura setariae

Rusty plum aphid

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

Identification & Distribution

Adult apterae of Hysteroneura setariae (see first picture below) are dark chocolate brown, usually with a slight olive tint. The antennae have segments I, II, V and VI dark brown, and segments III to IV shading from yellowish white to brown (cf. Rhopalosiphum and Schizaphis spp., which usually have antennal segment IV completely pigmented). The antennal terminal process is 5.0-6.3 times the length of the base of antennal segment VI. The apical rostral segment (RIV+V) is 0.9-1.5 times the length of the second hind tarsal segment (HTII). The femora are mostly dark, but pale at the base; the tibiae are mostly pale, but dark distally. The siphunculi are black and slightly swollen on the basal half; they are 0.8-2.5 times the caudl length. The cauda is long and very pale, with only 4 hairs. The body length of adult Hysteroneura setariae apterae is 1.3-2.1 mm.

First image above by permission, copyright Sunil Joshi & Poorani, J. Aphids of Karnataka (accessed 12/2/20),
Second image above, copyright Budak under a Creative Commons (CC BY-NC 4.0) licence,
Third image above copyright, Jesse Rorabaugh, no rights reserved.

The Hysteroneura setariae alate (see second picture above) is similarly coloured to the aptera. The basal 0.7 of antennal segment IV is pale. The hind wing has only one oblique vein (cf. Rhopalosiphum and Schizaphis spp., whose hind wings have two oblique veins).

First image above copyright, Jesse Rorabaugh, no rights reserved;
Second image above: copyright Budak under a Creative Commons (CC BY-NC 4.0) licence.

In temperate North America Hysteroneura setariae host alternates from domestic plum (Prunus domestica) to many species of grasses (Poaceae) and sedges (Cyperaceae). In warmer parts of the world (Australia, Africa, India, China, South America) the rusty plum aphid is anholocyclic on grasses, sedges and on seedlings of oil palms and coconuts (Arecaceae). They commonly feed at the bases of the spikelets or sometimes on the leaves or unripe seeds (see pictures above). The rusty plum aphid is often attended by ants (see second picture above). For example three species of ants (Camponotus navigator, Tapinoma melanocephalus, Technomyrmex albipes) are known to tend Hysteroneura on the Pacific Islands of Palau (Idechil et al., 2007). Hysteroneura setariae was introduced from North America to North Africa in the 1940s, from where it spread to most of the warmer parts of the world.


Other aphids on the same host

Primary host

Hysteroneura setariae have been recorded from 5 Prunus species (Prunus domestica, Prunus nigra, Prunus persica, Prunus triloba, Prunus virginiana)

Secondary hosts

Hysteroneura setariae has been recorded from one species of Oryza (Oryza sativa).

Hysteroneura setariae has been recorded from one Zea species (Zea mays).


Damage and control

Hysteroneura setariae is a pest of rice, wheat, sugar cane, maize and soybean. Moderate infestations of rice result in brown necrotic spots on the grains. Heavy infestations result in empty grains, and turn all spikelets brown and chaffy. Severe damage has been reported from Sierra Leone, India and Nigeria (Nasruddin, 2013). It is also a minor pest of peach in the USA.


We especially thank Budak and Jesse Rorabaugh for making their images available for use. We are also grateful to Sunil Joshi & J. Poorani for permitting us to use their images from Aphids of Karnataka.

Identification was made by the photographers noted above and by us from the photos of living and/or preserved specimens. We have used the keys and species accounts of Thomas (1978) (as Siphonophora setariae), Palmer (1952) (as Aphis setariae) and Noordam (2004) 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 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


  • Idechil, O. et al. (2007). Aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae), ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and associated flora of Palau with comparisons to other Pacific Islands. Micronesica 39(2), 141-170. Full text

  • Nasruddin, A. (2013). First record of Hysteroneura setariae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on rice in South Sulawesi, Province of Indonesia. Florida Entomologist 96(2), 647-648. Full text

  • Noordam, D. (2004) Aphids of Java. Part V: Aphidini (Homoptera: Aphididae). Zool. Verh. Leiden 346, 7-83. Full text

  • Palmer, M.A. (1952). Aphids of the Rocky Mountain Region: including primarily Colorado and Utah, but also bordering area composed of southern Wyoming, southeastern Idaho and northern New Mexico. Full text

  • Thomas, C. 1878 [1877]). A list of the species of the tribe Aphidini, Family Aphididae found in the United States, which have been heretofore named, with descriptions of some new species. Bulletin of the Illinois State Laboratory of Natural History 1(2), 5-6 Full text