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Aphidinae : Macrosiphini : Nearctaphis sensoriata


Nearctaphis sensoriata

Dark serviceberry aphid

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

Identification & Distribution

Adult apterae of Nearctaphis sensoriata (see first and third pictures below) are reddish- or greenish-brown to black with a large black sclerotized patch covering at least most of tergites IV-V, and smaller sclerotized patches on the other tergites (Palmer (1952) describes the fundatrix as being rusty red to chestnut-brown, but later apterae as black or blackish when live, and greenish in alcohol). The siphunculi are pale greenish yellow, apparently blackish in the older examples. Antennae & legs are mainly dark. Antennal segment III bears 0-18 oval or round secondary rhinaria, segment IV has 0-6. The rostrum reaches or even surpasses the hind coxae. The basal half of the hind tibia is slightly swollen and bears numerous, small oval scent glands (pseudosensoria) on the swollen basal half. The siphunculi are short, about as long as, or a little longer than, the cauda, and gradually taper from base to tip. The cauda is short and broadly oval at tip, not longer than wide at base (cf. Aphis pomi, Aphis spiraecola & Acyrthosiphon macrosiphum on Amelanchier, all of which have the cauda at least 1.5 times the longer than width at base). The body length of adult Nearctaphis sensoriata apterae is 2 to 2.25 mm. Immatures are reddish or greenish, all with the hind tibiae swollen and with pseudosensoria, but with a smaller number than the adult.

Note: The specific name 'sensoriata' was suggested by the presence of pseudosensoria upon the hind tibiae of adult alate and apterous viviparae, the immature apterous viviparae, and the oviparous females, and the irregularity of the occurrence of secondary rhinaria on the antennae, especially of the apterous vivipara.

Image above copyright Andrew Jensen under a creative common licence.

Alatae of Nearctaphis sensoriata (see second picture above, and second below) are greenish or brownish-black, with a large solid dorsal abdominal sclerite, and dusky or dark siphunculi. The cauda is blunt and not longer than width at base. Secondary rhinaria are distributed about 36 on antennal segment III, 12 on segment IV, and 6 on segment V. The hind tibia is swollen in the proximal third, and has about 15 to 20 oval or circular pseudosensoria.

Images above copyright CBG Photography Group under a creative common licence.

Nearctaphis sensoriata is found on the leaves and twigs of serviceberry (Amelanchier species). It is thought to host alternate between Amelanchier as main host and a member of the Fabaceae or Orobrachaceae as secondary hosts. Hille Ris Lambers (1970) has reported finding an aptera on Medicago hispida, and populations on Amelanchier in the autumn have been found to comprise alate gynoparae, oviparae and alate males. Nevertheless, populations persist on Amelanchier into summer, so it seems most likely that only part of the population host-alternates. Nearctaphis sensoriata is found in western North America.


Other aphids on the same host

Nearctaphis sensoriata is recorded on 2 serviceberry species (Amelanchier alnifolia, Amelanchier spicata).


We are grateful to Andrew Jensen for making his images of Nearctaphis sensoriata available for use under a creative commons licence.

We have used the species accounts given by Gillette & Bragg (1918) and Palmer (1952), together with information from Hille Ris Lambers (1970) & 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 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


  • Gillette, C.P. & Bragg, L.C. (1918). Aphis bakeri and some allied species. Journal of Economic Entomology 11(3), 328-333 (p. 330) Full text

  • Hille Ris Lambers, D. (1970). The Genus Nearctaphis Shaposhnikov, 1950. Proceedings Koninki. Nederl. Akademie Van Wetenschapopen, Amsterdam, C 73(1), 54.

  • Palmer, M.A. (1952). Aphids of the Rocky Mountain Region: including primarily Colorado and Utah, but also bordering area composed of southern Wyoming, southeastern Idaho and northern New Mexico. Full text