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Aphidinae : Myzus persicae
 

 

Myzus persicae

Peach-potato aphid, Green peach aphid

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

Identification & Distribution

The apterae of Myzus persicae are generally yellowish-green (see first picture below) but vary from whitish or pale yellowish green to mid-green, rose-pink or red (see second picture below). They are often darker in cold conditions. The antennae are 0.7-1.0 times the body length, reaching to the siphunculi. The antennal terminal process is usually longer than antennal segment III, 0.90-1.49 times its length (cf. Myzus certus and Myzus dianthicola, both of which usually have the terminal process shorter than antennal segment III). Their siphunculi are slightly swollen towards the darkened tips (cf. Myzus ornatus and Myzus lythri, which both have tapering siphunculi). The siphunculi are 1.9-2.5 times the length of the rather pointed cauda, and at least 0.82 times longer than antennal segment III (cf. Myzus ascalonicus and Myzus cymbalariae, which both have siphunculi less than 0.81 times longer than antennal segment III). The body length of Myzus persicae apterae is 1.2-2.3 mm.

The alate Myzus persicae (see first picture below) has a solid pigmented area occupying the mid-abdominal dorsum from segments 3 to 6, as well as further bars on adjoining segments. Immatures have no visible cauda and shorter siphunculi but otherwise resemble the adult apterae. The colony structure of Myzus persicae on secondary hosts is usually dispersed (see second picture below) (cf. Myzus antirrhinii, which forms large dense colonies).

The micrographs below show an aptera (note the slightly swollen, dark-tipped siphunculi) and an alate, both preserved in isopropyl alcohol.

The clarified slide mounts below are of adult viviparous female Myzus persicae : wingless (from the secondary host), and winged.

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

The peach-potato aphid does host alternate where its primary host - peach (Prunus persica) occurs. Eggs are laid on the primary host and spring colonies curl the young leaves of peach. However, most of the population overwinters as mobile stages on secondary hosts: herbaceous plants and brassicas. Myzus persicae is a major pest of its summer hosts, including potatoes, sugar beet, lettuce, brassicas and legumes, mainly because it transmits a number of important plant viruses. Whilst Myzus persicae is a polyphagous generalist.

The subspecies Myzus persicae nicotianae is a tobacco specialist, but also occurs on a variety of other secondary hosts. In most of its range it is anholocyclic, but its primary host is Prunus persica.

 

Other aphids on same host:

Primary hostss

  • Myzus persicae has been recorded on 33 species of the Prunus genus.

    Excluding Myzus persicae nicotianae, Blackman & Eastop list 24 species of aphid as feeding on peach (Prunus persica) worldwide, and provide formal identification keys (Show World list). Of those aphid species, Baker (2015) lists 16 as occurring in Britain (Show British list).

Secondary hosts

Acknowledgements

We especially thank the UK Forestry Commission Bedgebury Pinetum and Plumpton College at Stanmer Park for their kind assistance, and permission to sample.

Our particular thanks to Roger Blackman for images of his clarified slide mounts. We also thank Hadlow College for their kind assistance.

We have made provisional 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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