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Chaitophorinae : Chaitophorini : Periphyllus lyropictus


Identification & Distribution:

Periphyllus lyropictus apterae (see first picture below) are yellowish with brown dorsal markings, usually comprising a broad spinal stripe on head and thorax and a large V-shaped mark on the dorsal abdomen. The terminal process of the sixth antennal segment is 4.5-6.0 times longer than the base of that segment. The antennal and dorsal hairs are acute and fine pointed. The siphunculi of the Periphyllus lyropictus aptera are pale to dusky, conical, and about as long as their basal widths. The cauda is tongue shaped, about as long as broad, and often with a slight constriction (cf. Periphyllus testudinaceus, where the cauda is clearly shorter than its basal width). The body length is 1.9-3.0 mm.

Periphyllus lyropictus alatae (see second picture above) have dark marginal sclerites, but other dorsal sclerotization is limited to the spinal area, not forming cross-bands. The shorter hair on the basal part of the sixth antennal segment is 0.025-0.04 mm long (cf. Periphyllus hirticornis, which has this hair 0.019-0.025 mm long). The siphunculi are 0.17-0.23 mm long (cf. Periphyllus hirticornis, where the siphunculi are 0.21-0.28 mm long).

In Europe Periphyllus lyropictus is found on the undersides of leaves of Norway maple (Acer platanoides). In North America they have also been recorded on several other species of maple. The Norway maple aphid often forms large colonies producing much honeydew which are visited by ants and other insects. Periphyllus lyropictus does not produce aestivating nymphs. Oviparae and alate males are produced in October-November. The Norway maple periphyllus is native to Europe, but it was introduced on Norway maple to North America, where it is now also widespread.


Biology & Ecology:

Life cycle

Periphyllus lyropictus eggs hatch early in spring and the fundatrices develop and stay on the bark of one-year old branches. Their nymphs constitute the second generation and develop on the undersides of the leaves, as soon as the buds open. There is then a third generation, some of which develop into alates. The alatae (see picture below) disperse to colonize other trees (Hill Ris Lambers, 1947).

Although most Periphyllus lyropictus colonies are on the undersides of leaves, they will occasionally establish a colony on the upperside of a leaf (see picture below).

Subsequent generations are usually apterous, and live in small groups on the undersides of the leaves along the main veins (see picture below).

The apterae often collect at the same spot and sit with their heads almost touching, depositing their offspring. Periphyllus lyropictus does not produce aestivating nymphs.

In the autumn a variety of different colour forms can be produced (see pictures below).


At this time they also produce oviparous females (see picture below) and alate males.

After mating, the oviparae lay their eggs on the wood of the branches.

Natural enemies

A wide range of predators and parasitoids attack Periphyllus lyropictus - the picture below show the egg of a syrphid fly laid on the edge of the colony.

Another predator we have found active in Periphyllus lyropictus colonies is Anthocoris nemorum (see picture below), a well known predator of sycamore aphids (Dixon & Russel (1972))

Hill Ris Lambers (1947) reports that the colonies of Norway maple aphids are usually attended by ants (Lasius spp.) during the summer. Stroyan (1977) notes that Periphyllus lyropictus may be locally common, but is little recorded.


Other aphids on same host:

Periphyllus lyropictus has been found on 6 species of maple (Acer circinatum, Acer macrophyllum, Acer platanoides, Acer rubrum, Acer saccharinum, Acer saccharum). In Europe it has only been recorded on Acer platanoides.


Damage and control

Unlike most Periphyllus species, Periphyllus lyropictus causes marked leaf wrinkling at the site of the colony. Since it can be abundant, it is often considered a pest species both in America and in Europe (Ripka, 1999).


Identifications & Acknowledgements

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).

Useful weblinks


  • Dixon, A.F.G. & Russel, R.J. (1972). The effectiveness of Anthocoris nemorum and A. confusus (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae) as predators of the sycamore aphid, Drepanosiphum platanoides. II. Searching behaviour and the incidence of predation in the field. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 15(1), 35-50. Abstract

  • Dixon, A.F.G. & Thieme, T. (2007). Aphids on deciduous trees. Naturalist's Handbooks 29. Richmond

  • Hille Ris Lambers, D. (1947). Notes on the Genus Periphyllus. Tijdschrift Voor Entomologie 88, 225-242. Full text

  • Ripka, G. (1999). Növénykárosító ízeltlábúak a díszfákon és a díszcserjéken: pajzstetvek, levéltetvek, atkák. (Arthropod pests of ornamental trees and shrubs: scale insects, aphids, mites). Növényvédelem 35(12), 623-626.  Abstract

  • Stroyan, H.L.G. (1977). Homoptera: Aphidoidea (Part) - Chaitophoridae and Callaphidae. Handbooks for the identification of British insects. 2 (4a) Royal Entomological Society of London. Full text