Biology, images, analysis, design...
Aphids Find them How to ID AphidBlog
"It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important" (Sherlock Holmes)

Search this site

Aphidinae : Aphidini : Melanaphis bambusae


Melanaphis bambusae

Waxy bamboo aphid, Bamboo aphid

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

Identification & Distribution

Adult apterae of Melanaphis bambusae (see first picture below) are dark brown to black with grey wax patches, the latter usually absent around the siphunculi and along the dorsal midline. The legs are mostly pale but with the distal end of the femur, the proximal end of the tibiae and the tarsi dusky or dark. The antennae are 0.89-1.06 times the body length, and are 6-segmented (cf. Rhopalosiphum rufiabdominale on bamboo, which has 5 segmented antennae). The antennae are mostly pale, but segments I, II and VI are dark; hairs on antennal segment III are short and inconspicuous, at most about 0.5 times the basal diameter of that segment (cf. Melanaphis meghalayensis on bamboo, which has hairs on segment III at least 2-3 times longer than the basal diameter of the segment). There are no sclerotised patches on the spinal area, but there are 2 lateral rows of black spots on the dorsum, converging opposite the siphuncular bases. The siphunculi are black, cylindrical, and rather short, as long as or slightly longer than the cauda (cf. Takecallis spp. which have very short truncate siphuncular cones). The cauda is dusky, short, and conical with 4-6 hairs. The body length of adult Melanaphis bambusae apterae is 0.8-1.4 mm.

First image above copyright Michael Skvarla, second image copyright zdk0812;
both under a creative common licence.

Alatae of Melanaphis bambusae (on bamboos) have secondary rhinaria distributed 14-28 on segment III, 7-15 on segment IV, and 0-7 on segment V. The wing veins are noticeably darkened (cf. Melanaphis meghalayensis, which does not have the wing veins deeply pigmented).

Image above copyright zdk0812 under a creative common licence.

In Japan where the species is indigenous, Melanaphis bambusae sometimes host alternates from its primary host, Christmas berry (Photinia villosa) to its secondary host, bamboos (Arundinaria, Bambusa, Phyllostachys) and other grasses. Elsewhere, and sometimes also in Japan, populations are anholocyclic on bamboos. Aphid colonies are usually ant-attended. Originating in east Asia, Melanaphis bambusae is now also found in south-east Asia, Australia, India, the Mediterranean area, southern Europe, southern states of the USA, Hawaii, and under glass, in more temperate climates.


Other aphids on the same host

Primary hosts

Melanaphis bambusae has been recorded on 1 Photinia species (Photinia villosa).

Secondary hosts


We are grateful to Michael Skvarla and zdk0812 for making their pictures available for use under a creative commons licence.

We have used the keys and species accounts of Fullaway (1910) (as Aphis bambusae), along 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


  • Fullaway, D.T. (1910). Report of the entomologist. Synopsis of Hawaiian Aphidae. Annual Report of the Hawaiian Agricultural Experiment Station 1909. 17-46. (p.35)