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Chaitophorinae : Chaitophorini : Periphyllus negundinis


Periphyllus negundinis

Boxelder aphid, Puceron de l'érable négondo

On 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

Ant attendance

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).


We are especially grateful to Claude Pilon for pictures of Periphyllus negundinis (for more of her excellent pictures see and).

We have made provisional 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 Hottes & Frison (1931), Palmer (1952) and Essig & Abernathy (1952) as well as Blackman & Eastop (1994) and Blackman & Eastop (2006). 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


  • Essig, E.O. & Abernathy, F. (1952). The Aphid Genus Periphyllus. A systematic, biological and ecological study. University of California Press, Berkeley & Los Angeles.

  • Hottes, F.C. & Frison, T.H. (1931). The Plant Lice, or Aphiidae, of Illinois. Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin 19(3), 123-447. Full text

  • Jones, C.R. (1929). Ants and their relation to aphids. Colorado Experiment Station Bulletin 341 1-96. Full text

  • 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