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Boxelder aphid, Puceron de l'érable négondoOn this page: Identification & Distribution Biology & Ecology Ant attendance Other aphids on the same host Damage & Control
Identification & Distribution
Adult apterae of Periphyllus negundinis are pale yellow-green to apple-green with a darker green stripe on each side of the dorsum, but with no clear pattern of dorsal dark markings (cf. Periphyllus californiensis, which has a clear pattern of dorsal dark markings, either bars or paired spots). The antennal terminal process is 2.5-3.0 times the length of the base of antennal segment IV. The longest hair on the base of antennal segment VI is always less than half as long as the base of that segment (cf. Periphyllus californiensis, which has the longest hair on base of antennal segment VI usually more than half as long as base of that segment). The tibiae are rather uniformly pigmented, dusky or dark (cf. Periphyllus testudinaceus, which has the tibiae with the middle part much paler than the base or distal section). The siphunculi are short and pale.
Both images above by permission, copyright Claude Pilon, all rights reserved.
Alatae (see second picture above) have the head and thorax brown, and rather variable dark green dorsal abdominal markings, but no distinct cross-bands. They have 3-10 secondary rhinaria on antennal segment III. The short siphunculi of the alatae are dusky.
Image above by permission, copyright Claude Pilon, all rights reserved.
Periphyllus negundinis is monophagous on boxelder (Acer negundo), feeding on young growth in or near fruit clusters in spring, and later on the undersides of leaves. Aestivating nymphs have foliate (=leaf-shaped) marginal hairs. Essig & Abernathy (1952) report that dark green apterous males and mottled green oviparae occur in October-November (see picture of ovipara in AphidTrek). They are commonly attended by ants (see picture above). Hottes & Frison (1931) noted that at times this "plant louse becomes so abundant on boxelder in Illinois that it is exceedingly obnoxious, for the honeydew covers the sidewalks beneath infested trees." Their records indicated it was common and widely distributed in all parts of Illinois. Periphyllus negundinis is widely distributed in North America including Mexico.
Biology & Ecology
Periphyllus negundinis is usually closely attended by ants which consume the honeydew produced. Jones (1927) recorded 3 species of ants attending the boxelder aphid: Dorymyrmex pyramicus, Formica argentea (as Formica fusca var argentea) and Formica fusca.
Stephen Luk recorded the ant Aphaenogaster rudis attending Periphyllus negundinis in Ontario, Canada (see picture below).
Image above copyright Stephen Luk (2017).
Other aphids on the same host
Blackman & Eastop list 11 species of aphid as feeding on boxelder (Acer negundo) worldwide, and provide formal identification keys (Show World list). Of those aphid species, Baker (2015) lists 8 as occurring in Britain (Show British list).