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Aphididae : Neophyllaphidinae : Neophyllaphis


Genus Neophyllaphis

Neophyllaphis aphids

On this page: Neophyllaphis totarae varicolor

Neophyllaphis [Neophyllaphidinae]

Neophyllaphis aphids have undeveloped antennal tubercles. The antennae are 6-segmented, with semi-annular secondary rhinaria; the primary rhinarium has a hairy fringe. The eyes of apterae are triommatidia. The head and pronotum are more-or-less fused in the aptera. In the alate the fore-wings have the media vein twice branched; hind-wings have both the media and cubitus present. Siphunculi are very small and much wider than long. The cauda is somewhat elongate and knobbed. The anal plate is slightly divided. Oviparous females may be winged, and possess semi-annular secondary rhinaria. Apterae are wax secreting.

There are about 18 species of Neophyllaphis monoecious on podocarps (Podocarpaceae) and araucarians (Araucariaceae). Sexual morphs are known in some species. They generally occur in mixed colonies with parthenogenetic morphs, often over several generations in spring, summer or autumn. Neophyllaphis is mainly found in the southern hemisphere and mountains of the tropics, but also northwards into China and Japan. Six species are in subgenus Chileaphis, and occur only in South America; the other species are in the nominate subgenus, and occur in Asia & Australasia, and now in Southern USA.


Neophyllaphis totarae (Totara aphid) New Zealand

Adult apterae of Neophyllaphis totarae (see first picture below) are dark purplish or brown, sometimes brown mottled with purple. Their siphunculi look like slightly raised black rings, and the cauda is dusky. The aphid is lightly dusted with wax powder (most apparent between the abdominal segments in the first picture below). The head is without antennal tubercles, and the eyes are triommatidia. The antennae are half the body length, and bear no secondary rhinaria. Antennal segment III is less than 0.8 times the length of fore tibia (cf. Neophyllaphis podocarpi, where antennal segment III is more than 0.8 times the fore tibia). The rostrum reaches beyond the third pair of coxae, and is very blunt at the apex. Dorsal abdominal hairs do not arise from pigmented scleroites (cf. Neophyllaphis gingerensis in Australia, which has the dorsal abdominal hairs on pigmented scleroites). The siphunculi are small and pore-like, scarcely raised, with a darkened chitinous ring just inside the opening. The cauda is greatly constricted at the basal third and bears 5 hairs. The anal plate is slightly divided. The body length of adult Neophyllaphis totarae apterae is about 2.8 mm

First & third images above copyright Stephen Thorpe, second image copyright Grey Smith;
all under a creative common licence.

Adult alate Neophyllaphis totarae (see second picture above) have a dusky head, a reddish brown prothorax, and dark thoracic lobes, scutum and scutellum. The abdomen is dark reddish purple, with a short darker transverse (shining?) patch in the middle of each of the first two abdominal segments. The siphunculi are small raised black rings, and the cauda is dusky with a yellowish tinge. Antennal segment III bears 20-25 semiannular secondary rhinaria (cf. Neophyllaphis podocarpi alatae, which have 30-44 secondary rhinaria on segment III). There are often also a few rhinaria on segment IV.

Neophyllaphis totarae is monoecious on Podocarpus species, especially Podocarpus totara. Teulon et al (2003) considered it a relatively common aphid in New Zealand. It has been found consistently by a number of workers since first recorded in the 1920s. Cottier (1953) comments that the species infests its hosts sparsely. He found it does not seem to form large colonies, being usually found single on leaves or in small groups on young twigs. However, quite large colonies can build on young leaves (see third picture above). Neophyllaphis totarae is holocyclic, with winged oviparae and winged males appearing in spring (November in New Zealand) into summer. This is similar behaviour to that shown by Neophyllaphis podocarpi in Australia. The totara aphid is found in the North and South Islands of New Zealand, but has not been recorded elsewhere.



Neophyllaphis varicolor (Varicolored podocarp aphid) Southern USA, Costa Rica, South-east Asia

Adult apterae of Neophyllaphis varicolor (see first picture below) are dorso-ventrally flattened, and coloured purple to dark wine-red. The colour is partially obscured by heavy wax-dusting. The head is weakly sclerotized, smooth with only faint reticulation. The antennal tubercles are undeveloped, and the eyes are only triommatidia. The antennae are 6-segmented, shorter than the body, with no secondary rhinaria and dusky, with the base of segment III paler. Antennal segment III is at least 2.6 times as long as segment IV (cf. Neophyllaphis podocarpi, which has antennal segment III less than 2.6 times segment IV). The hairs on antennal segment III are short, usually less than half the width of the segment. The rostrum is long, extending past the metacoxae to the abdominal region (cf. Neophyllaphis fransseni, where the rostrum does not reach the metacoxae). The apical rostral segment is long, with 6 hairs. The abdomen is without pigment, except segment VIII which has a transverse sclerite. Siphunculi are short, dusky, and with no apical flange. The cauda is long, elongate, with a basal constriction, and has 4 pairs of lateral hairs plus a dorsal subapical hair. The body length of adult Neophyllaphis varicolor apterae is 1.2-1.6 mm. Immatures may be yellow, orange, red or purple.

First two images above copyright James Bailey; third image copyright Jesse Rorabaugh;
all under a creative common licence.

The alate Neophyllaphis varicolor (see second picture above) has the head sclerotized with a pair of compound eyes, distinct triommatidia, plus frontal and lateral ocelli. The antennae have numerous annular secondary rhinaria on segment III. The thoracic region has a well developed sclerite. The forewing has a distinct pterostigma, and its media vein has 3 branches. Neophyllaphis varicolor gets its name from the range of colours - yellow, orange, red or purple - of the immatures (see third picture above). Unfortunately the colour of immatures of other Neophyllaphis is unknown, so this characteristic should not be treated as diagnostic. Colonies in California are sometimes attended by ants.

Neophyllaphis varicolor was first found in colonies on new growth of Podocarpus spp. and Afrocarpus falcatus in Florida, USA (Miller & Halbert, 2014), but is now apparently present in several of the southern states of the USA. The USA populations are anholocyclic, and no sexuales have been found. Neophyllaphis varicolor has also been recorded from Costa Rica. More recently it has been found on a Podocarpus sp. in Vietnam, where it is presumed indigenous (Zuniga-Centeno et al., 2019).



We are grateful to Stephen Thorpe, Grey Smith, James Bailey and Jesse Rorabaugh for making their images of Neophyllaphis available for use under a creative commons licence.

We have used the genus & species accounts given by Cottier (1953), Teulon et al. (2003), & Miller & Halbert (2014), together with information from Zuniga-Centeno et al. (2019)and 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


  • Cottier, W. (1953). Aphids of New Zealand. New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research Bulletin 106 (p. 312)

  • Miller, G.L. & Halbert, S.E. (2014). A new species of Neophyllaphis (Hemiptera: Aphididae: Neophyllaphidinae) with keys to species on Podocarpus (Pinales: Podocarpaceae). Full text

  • Teulon, D.A.J. et al. (2003). Status of New Zealand indigenous aphids, 2002. Zootaxa 3647(4) (p. 510) Full text

  • Zuniga-Centeno, A. et al. (2019). A molecular study of Neophyllaphis varicolor (Hemiptera, Aphididae) in Costa Rica. Full text