Neophyllaphis totarae (Totara aphid, New Zealand podocarp aphid) identification, images, ecology, control
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Neophyllaphidinae : Neophyllaphis totarae


Neophyllaphis totarae

Totara aphid, New Zealand podocarp aphid

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

Identification & Distribution

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 image above copyright Stephen Thorpe, second image copyright Grey Smith; both 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.

Images above copyright Stephen Thorpe, under a creative common licence.

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 second 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.


Other aphids on the same host

Neophyllaphis totarae has been recorded from 3 Podocarpus species (Podocarpus acutifolius, Podocarpus cunninghamii, Podocarpus totara).

For all 3 Podocarpus species listed above, Neophyllaphis totarae is the only species of aphid recorded.


We are grateful to Stephen Thorpe and Grey Smith for making their images of Neophyllaphis totarae available for use under a creative commons licence.

We have used the species account given by Cottier (1953) together with information from Teulon et al. (2003) 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)

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