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Myzus ascalonicus

Shallot aphid

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

Identification & Distribution:

Myzus ascalonicus apterae are shiny brownish green to dirty yellow (cf. Myzus cymbalariae which are not shiny). The antennal tubercles have their inner faces approximately parallel in dorsal view (cf. Myzus cymbalariae and Myzus persicae which have the inner faces convergent). Their legs and antennae are pale, apart from the ends of the antennae and the tarsi. The dorsum is strongly convex in comparison with related species (best seen in the first micrograph below). The siphunculi are shorter than antennal segment III, distinctly swollen towards the apex, evenly coloured throughout and with only a very small flange (cf. Myzus persicae which has siphunculi longer than antennal segment III and dark-tipped). The siphunculi have their narrowest part thinner than, or equal in width to, the hind tibia at midlength ( (cf. Myzus cymbalariae which has the narrowest part of the stem slightly thicker than the hind tibia at midlength). The cauda is roughly triangular in shape, and short: about one third the length of the siphunculi. The body length of Myzus ascalonicus apterae is 1.1-2.2 mm.

The alate Myzus ascalonicus (see second picture above, and second micrograph below) has a large central dark patch extending over at least the central areas of abdominal tergites 3-6 or 4-6 (cf. the alate Myzus cymbalariae which has the dorsal abdominal sclerotization at least partly divided into separate segmental cross bands).

The images below show an apterous and an alate Myzus ascalonicus in alcohol.

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

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

The shallot aphid does not host alternate, but is extremely polyphagous feeding on crops such as onions, shallots, strawberries, lettuce, brassicas and potatoes and many garden ornamentals. There is no sexual stage in the life cycle and no eggs are produced. Instead Myzus ascalonicus is cold-hardy, and overwinters in glasshouses and sheltered areas. Numbers may build up even at low temperatures in winter and spring, with alates migrating to other crops up to mid-June.


Biology & Ecology

Life cycle

Myzus ascalonicus overwinters parthenogenetically on range of weeds such as chickweeds (Stellaria) and speedwells (Veronica). The picture below shows an apterous adult on Veronica in mid March.

It then disperses to a very wide range of plants over the summer. The female and nymph below are on goldilocks buttercup (Ranunculus auricromus)


Other aphids on same host:

Overwintering hosts
Summer hosts


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).

Useful weblinks


Identification requests

Alexandra Shaw, March 09, 2014, ID?

Thought of you as I got this plant out of the conservatory earlier today.

Image copyright Alexandra Shaw, all rights reserved.


Bob, InfluentialPoints:

  • Thanks for the photo -- they do seem to be doing rather well.

    Sadly, unlike birds, we can rarely ID aphids from a photo - even if it is up-close and personal.

    There are at least 600 aphid species in UK (many of which are fairly plant specific).

    Do you know what plant they were on? Could you send us a live sample in a small plastic box??

    If you have nothing better to do for an afternoon we have some pages on finding and identifying aphids.

    And yes, given the record-breaking mild winter, we expect an awful lot of aphids this year...

Do you really want me to send you some? I'm happy to do so. I've put the plant, a bulb of sorts [probably wild hyacinth], outside from the conservatory so they may have given up in the cold.

Bob, InfluentialPoints:

  • Many thanks for sending us the beasties.

    [Examining the sample, thus far we have only] found "fourth-instar alates" (they have developing wing-buds).

    Given which the rest of the ravening hoard you found has probably matured to adult alates - and flapped-off.


    As you may have gathered we are trying to raise a few to (wingless) adults so we can identify them.

    One, somewhat mangled bit of [leaf] is in water...


Image: InfluentialPoints.

  • Given the siphunculi are clearly swollen and the aphids are brownish green, these are probably Myzus ascalonicus, but only immatures were present - which we were unable to raise through to adults.