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Lachninae : Tramini : Protrama ranunculi


Protrama ranunculi

Buttercup-root aphid

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

Identification & Distribution

Adult apterae of Protrama ranunculi (see two pictures below) are all alatiform. The apterae are greyish or greenish, with the head darker dorsally. Each segment of the dorsum has a transverse dark sclerotized bar, and more-or-less fragmented marginal sclerites. The head has a longitudinal suture. The antennae are 0.4-0.5 times the body length, with the terminal process 0.55-0.67 times as long as the base of antennal segment VI. There are 0-24 secondary rhinaria of variable sizes on the apical 0.25-0.50 of antennal segment III, 2-6 slightly larger rhinaria on IV, 1-6 on V and 0-2 on VI. The apical segment to the rostrum has 6-10 (normally 9) dorsal hairs. The second segment of the hind tarsus (HTII) is 0.50-0.70 times the hind tibia (cf. Protrama radicis, which has HTII 0.72-0.87 times the hind tibia). The hind tibia is 2.7-3.3 times as long as antennal segment III (cf. Protrama flavescens, whose hind tibia is 2.2-2.6 times antennal segment III). The siphuncular cones are dark, low, and hairy, and appear rather large because of the surrounding fused marginal sclerites on segments V & VI. The cauda is rounded. Body length of the adult Protrama ranunculi aptera is 2.8-3.8 mm.

Images above, by permission copyright Ian Barton, all rights reserved.

Alate viviparae of Protrama ranunculi (not pictured) have the head, thorax, abdominal cross bars, marginal & siphuncular sclerites, antennae & legs very dark. Secondary rhinaria are distributed 26-45 on antennal segment III, 4-10 on segment IV, 2-8 on segment V and 1-4 on segment VI. The hind tarsus is 0.50-0.58 times the hind tibia. The media vein of the forewing normally has two forks (= 3 branches). Immatures (see two pictures below) are pale yellow. They can be distinguished from immatures in other genera by the very long second hind tarsal segment.

Images above, by permission copyright Ian Barton, all rights reserved.

Protrama ranunculi lives in colonies on the roots of buttercups (Ranunculus spp.). Parthenogenetic reproduction occurs all year round, and sexuales have not been found. Colonies are usually attended by ants. The aphids pictured above were attended by yellow meadow ants (Lasius flavus). Protrama ranunculi is found throughout Europe, and in West & Central Asia.


Other aphids on the same host

Protrama ranunculi has been recorded from 3 Ranunculus species (Ranunculus bulbosus, Ranunculus repens, Ranunculus velutinus) and possibly Ranunculus acris. There are also unconfirmed report from Artemisia campestris and Artemisia taurica, but they were more likely to have been Protrama flavescens).


We are very grateful to Ian Barton for his images of Protrama ranunculi on buttercup roots in Cambridgeshire.

We have used the species account given by Heie (1995) together with information from 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


  • Heie, O.E. (1995). The Aphidoidea (Hemiptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. VI.Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica 31, 1-222. (p. 24).