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Aphidinae : Macrosiphini : Myzus ligustri


Identification & Distribution:

Myzus ligustri produces a characteristic leaf roll gall on its host, privet (Ligustrum) (see first picture below). The leaves are distorted and slightly swollen with one or both margins curved downwards or rolled towards the midrib, and spotted with yellow. The apterae of Myzus ligustri are shiny greenish-yellow, often with an orange hue around the base of their siphunculi (see second picture below). Their antennae and legs are pale, apart from the joints, which are brown. The siphunculi have their distal parts brownish black, contrasting with the yellow bases, and are 2.6-3.2 times longer than the pale triangular cauda. The body length of Myzus ligustri apterae is 1.0-1.5 mm.

The alate (see third picture above) has rather faint sclerotization on the posterior dorsum, sometimes pronounced orange patches around the siphunculi bases, and secondary rhinaria on antennal segments III (10-19) and IV (0-6).

The micrographs below show an aptera of Myzus ligustri, dorsal and ventral, in alcohol.

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

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

The privet aphid does not host alternate but spends all its life cycle on privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium, Ligustrum vulgare). Sexual forms are produced in November. Myzus ligustri is found in Europe and has been introduced into North America.


Biology & Ecology

The privet aphid is usually not very common, but it can increase rapidly in numbers if conditions are right. They are usually coloured a light greeny yellow as in the picture below.

However, they can take on a pronounced orange hue, especially around the bases of the siphunculi.


Other aphids on same host:

Myzus ligustri has been recorded from 2 Ligustrum species (Ligustrum ovalifolium, Ligustrum vulgare).


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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