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Aphidinae : Macrosiphini : Ipuka dispersum


Ipuka dispersum ( = Ipuka dispersa)

Tasselflower aphid

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

Identification & Distribution

Adult apterae of Ipuka dispersum (see first picture below) are brownish-grey, reddish-brown or greenish-yellow with many ill-defined dark crossbars on the thorax and abdomen, and reddish grey blotches around the siphuncular bases. The siphunculi, the tarsi, antennae (apart from the basal part of antennal segment III) and, the distal ends of the femora and tibiae are dark, and the cauda is pale. Antennal tubercles are rather well developed, but the median frontal tubercle is absent. Antennae are 1.2 to 1.45 times as long as body, with the terminal process 5 to 6 times the base of the last antennal segment. Secondary rhinaria are distributed 11-32 on antennal segment III, 20-35 on segment IV and 9-20 on segment V. Antennal and dorsal hairs are very short, only 5-10 μm long (cf. Uroleucon formosanum, which has antennal and dorsal hairs long and conspicuous). The first tarsal chaetotaxy (=bristle distribution) is 3,3,3 (fore,mid,hind). The siphunculi are long and thin, hardly thicker than hind tibia at their respective midlengths with a few, rather ill-defined, subapical rows of polygonal reticulation. The siphunculi are 0.25 to 0.30 of the body length, and 1.6 to 1.9 times as long as cauda. The cauda is elongate, tapering to a blunt point distally, and has 6-8 hairs. Body length of adult Ipuka dispersum apterae is 1.6-2.2 mm. Immatures have spinulose hind tibiae.

First image above by permission, copyright Sunil Joshi & Poorani, J. Aphids of Karnataka (accessed 12/2/20);
Second image copyright Jeevan Jose under a under a Creative Commons License.

The alate vivipara of Ipuka dispersum does not seem to have been described.

Ipuka dispersum is monoecious on tasselflowers (Emilia spp., Asteraceae), especially purple sowthistle (Emilia sonchifolia, see second picture above). The aphids live concealed in leaf sheaths, and on flower stems. Populations are apparently anholocyclic, and sexuales have not been found. The honeydew excretion is reputedly very low, and ants are not found attending them. Infested plants exhibit no visible damage. Ipuka dispersum is of Asian origin (India, China, southeast Asia) and is now also found in Africa & Australia.


Other aphids on the same host

Ipuka dispersum has been found on 4 Emilia species (Emilia caespitosa, Emilia coccinea, Emilia javanica, Emilia sonchifolia).

Blackman & Eastop list 16 species of aphid as feeding on Emilia sonchifolia worldwide, and provide formal identification keys (Show World list). Of those aphid species, Baker (2015) lists 11 as occurring in Britain (Show British list).


We especially thank Sunil Joshi & J. Poorani for permitting us to use their images from Aphids of Karnataka.

We have used the species accounts of van Harten & Ilharco (1976) 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


  • Noordam, D. (2004). Aphids of Java. Part VI: sixty species, six of which are newly described (Homoptera: Aphididae: Aphidinae, Lachninae, Neophyllaphidinae, Pemphiginae). Zoologische Verhandelingen 346, 85-212. (p.96)

  • van Harten, A. & Ilharco, F.A. (1976). A further contribution to the aphid fauna of Angola, including the description of a new genus and species (Homoptera, Aphidoidea). Agronomia Lusitana 37(1), 13-35. (p. 15)