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Myzus varians

Peach-clematis aphid

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

Identification & Distribution:

Spring populations of Myzus varians cause characteristic rolling and reddening of the leaves of their peach tree hosts (see first picture below). Adult apterae are pale green or yellow-green with conspicuously banded antennae. The terminal process of the antenna is 3.9-5.5 times longer than the base of the sixth antennal segment. On the primary host the distal halves of the siphunculi are conspicuously black (see second picture below). On the secondary host (clematis) only the tips of the siphunculi are black (see third picture below). The body length of the adult Myzus varians aptera is 1.7-2.3 mm.

First two images above copyright Alan Outen, all rights reserved.

The clarified slide mounts below are of adult viviparous female Myzus varians. The first micrograph below shows an adult aptera from the primary host, the second shows an adult aptera from the secondary host (note the difference in appearance of the siphunculi). The third micrograph shows the antenna of an aptera (note the darkened distal portions of segments 3, 4, 5, 6-base and 6-tip).

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

The Myzus varians alate is very dark, with a large dorsal abdominal black patch.

The first picture below shows a developing fourth-instar alate on Clematis armandii. The clarified slide mount is an alate female.

Second image above by permission of Roger Blackman, copyright AWP all rights reserved.

Myzus varians host alternates from Prunus persica (peach) to various Clematis species. Spring populations cause longitudinal rolling and reddening of the leaves of peach trees. On Clematis they can build up damaging populations. The species is native to eastern Asia, but has long been found in North America. It was first recorded in Europe in 1947, and has subsequently spread to south west Asia where it is a serious pest of peaches.

 

Other aphids on same host

Primary hosts

Myzus varians has been recorded from at least 5 Prunus species (Prunus davidiana, Prunus glandulosa, Prunus persica, Prunus pumila, Prunus salicina).

Blackman & Eastop list 24 species of aphid as feeding on peach (Prunus persica) worldwide, and provide formal identification keys.

Of those aphid species, Baker (2015) lists 16 as occurring in Britain: Aphis aurantii, Aphis fabae, Aphis gossypii, Aphis spiraecola, Brachycaudus amygdalinus, Brachycaudus helichrysi, Brachycaudus persicae, Brachycaudus schwartzi, Macrosiphum euphorbiae, Myzus cerasi, Myzus persicae, Myzus varians, Rhopalosiphum maidis, Rhopalosiphum nymphaeae, Rhopalosiphum padi and Rhopalosiphum rufiabdominale.

Secondary hosts

Myzus varians has been recorded from 14 Clematis species.

Blackman & Eastop list 23 species of aphid as feeding on clematis (Clematis) worldwide, and provide formal identification keys. Of those aphid species, Baker (2015) lists 9 as occurring in Britain: Aphis (Toxoptera) aurantii, Aphis nerii, Aphis vitalbae, Aulacorthum solani, Macrosiphum euphorbiae, Myzus ascalonicus, Myzus ornatus, Myzus persicae and Myzus varians.

The only aphid recorded on Clematis armandii (third image, top of page) is Myzus varians.

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Alan Outen (Bedfordshire Invertebrate Group) for two of the images above.

Our thanks also 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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