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Aphidinae : Macrosiphini : Macrosiphum cholodkovskyi


Macrosiphum cholodkovskyi

Meadow-sweet aphid

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

Identification & Distribution:

Macrosiphum cholodkovskyi apterae are yellow-green to dark blue-green (see first picture below of a green adult) or coral-pink to red (see second picture below of a pink immature), often with a darker longitudinal mid-dorsal band. The antennae are rather dark except at the bases, and are usually longer than the body. The antennal terminal process is 5.3-6.5 times the length of the base of antennal segment VI. The apical rostral segment (RIV+V) is 1.0-1.2 times the length of the second hind tarsal segment (HTII). The femora and tibiae are dark distally. The siphunculi are mainly dusky, with a dark tip and a pale base, and are 1.7-2.2 times the length of the rather thick and blunt cauda. The body length of adult Macrosiphum cholodkovskyi apterae is 3.1-5.1 mm.

The alate Macrosiphum cholodkovskyi (see third picture above) has a brown head and thorax, and a motled green abdomen with rather pale marginal sclerites.

The clarified slide mounts below are of adult viviparous female Macrosiphum cholodkovskyi : wingless, and winged.

Micrographs of clarified mounts by permission of Roger Blackman, copyright AWP all rights reserved.

The meadowsweet aphid does not host alternate but spends its entire life cycle on meadow sweet (Filipendula ulmaria), and occasionally on valerians (Valeriana alliariifolia). Macrosiphum cholodkovskyi lives on the stem and among the flowers. It is found throughout Europe and parts of Asia.


Biology & Ecology

Life cycle

The meadowsweet aphid is a rather common aphid in southern England. It can usually found in late late spring and early summer wherever its host plant, meadow sweet, is growing.

The host plant, Filipendula ulmaria (see picture below) is quite distinctive with large pinnate leaves and delicate creamy white flowers clustered in irregularly branched cymes.

Eggs laid the previous autumn hatch in spring, and the resultant fundatrices produce numerous offspring on the young plants. Some plants may host large colonies of Macrosiphum cholodkovskyi, initially on the growing shoots, leaves and stem (see picture below), and later in amongst the flower heads. Colonies attract large numbers of predators, and a larval coccinellid can be seen resting on a leaf in the picture below.

Alatae (see picture below) are produced in June and July, probably in response to crowding.

One of the more notable things about Macrosiphum cholodkovskyi is its size. The adult aptera (see picture below) is one of the larger aphids amongst the Macrosiphini with a body length of 3.1-5.1 mm.

Sexual forms develop in autumn. The oviparae are pink or greenish yellow and the alate males are dirty reddish or brownish green.


Other aphids on same host:

  • Macrosiphum cholodkovskyi has been recorded from 4 Filipendula species (Filipendula rubra, Filipendula ulmaria, Filipendula vestita, Filipendula vulgaris).

    Blackman & Eastop list 10 species of aphid as feeding on meadow sweet (Filipendula ulmaria) worldwide, and provide formal identification keys (Show World list). Of those aphid species, Baker (2015) lists 7 as occurring in Britain (Show British list).

  • Macrosiphum cholodkovskyi has been recorded from 1 Valeriana species (Valeriana alliariifolia).

    Blackman & Eastop list 3 species of aphid as feeding on Sirene valerian (Valeriana alliariifolia) worldwide, and provide formal identification keys (Show World list). Of those aphid species, Baker (2015) lists all 3 as occurring in Britain (Show British list).


Our particular thanks to Roger Blackman for images of his clarified slide mounts.

Whilst we make every effort to ensure that identifications are correct, we cannot absolutely warranty their accuracy. We have mostly made 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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