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Aphidinae : Macrosiphini : Macrosiphum mentzeliae


Macrosiphum mentzeliae

Blazingstar aphid

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

Identification & Distribution

Adult apterae of Macrosiphum mentzeliae (see two pictures below) have a yellowish head with a light to medium green body, often with a pink dorsal blotch, or with the dorsum completely pink. The siphunculi are pale basally, but dusky to blackish beyond the proximal half, and the cauda and anal plate are pale. The antennal tubercles are well developed, with the inner faces smooth and divergent. Antennal segment III bears 2-3 secondary rhinaria. The rostrum reaches the second pair of coxae, and the apical rostral segment (RIV+V) is 1.1-1.4 times as long as the second hind tarsal segment (HTII) (cf. Macrosiphum euphorbiae, which has RIV+V 0.8-1.0 times HTII). Hairs are slightly capitate. The siphunculi have a subapical zone of polygonal reticulation, and are 1.0-1.4 times antennal segment III (cf. Macrosiphum euphorbiae, which has siphunculi 0.7-1.1 times segment III). The cauda is parallel-sided to tapering, rather stout, and bears 4 pairs of lateral and one preapical dorsal hair. Body length of adult Macrosiphum mentzeliae apterae is 1.8-3.0 mm.

Both images above copyright Andrew Jensen, under a creative common licence.

Macrosiphum mentzeliae alatae (not pictured) have the abdomen medium to pale green with a reddish dorsal blotch. The antennae beyond the base of segment III, and siphunculi beyond the proximal third are dusky, and the cauda is pale. They have 13-21 secondary rhinaria on antennal segment III.

First image above copyright Andrew Jensen, second image copyright Dcrjsr;
both under a creative common licence.

Macrosiphum mentzeliae is monoecious holocyclic on the leaves of blazingstar (Mentzelia). Oviparae and alate males occur in October, and fundatrices (see picture above) are present in late March. The blazingstar aphid can be found in western USA south to Mexico, often in hot arid locations.


Other aphids on the same host

Macrosiphum mentzeliae has been recorded on 2 Mentzelia species (Mentzelia aspera, Mentzelia laevicaulis).


We are grateful to Andrew Jensen for making his images of Macrosiphum mentzeliae available for use under a creative commons licence.

We have used the species accounts given by Wilson (1915) and Palmer (1952), 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 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


  • 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

  • Wilson, H.F. (1915).. Miscellaneous aphid notes, chiefly from Oregon. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 41(2), 85-108. (p. 99) Full text