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Reticulaphis aphidsOn this page: Reticulaphis rotifera
The apterous viviparous female of Reticulaphis is ovate or elliptical, and is aleyrodiform (=depressed and flattened). The antennae are short, ventral, and 2- or 3-segmented. Eyes are submarginal, with 2 or 3 facets. The cephalothorax is strongly sclerotized and reticulated, without papillae (cf. Thoracaphis, which does not have the dorsum reticulated and has papillae). There are 20 long hairs on the marginal area, 6 of which are between eyes. The abdomen is small, separated from the cephalothorax, and with 6 minute submarginal hairs on each side of the anterior part (tergites I-VII). Tergite VIII has at least one pair of hairs. The legs are short, the hind legs a little exposed, and the tarsi rudimentary and not segmented; claws are rudimentary or atrophied (cf. Thoracaphis which does not have rudimentary tarsi). Siphunculi are absent (cf. Thoracaphis, which has siphunculi present). The cauda is much broader than long, and constricted basally. The anal plate is deeply bilobed.
There are about ten known species of Reticulaphis, feeding on figs (Ficus spp.) or Fagaceae. These however are the secondary hosts, with primary host unknown for most species. One species is known to use Distylium as the primary host, and others may be found to do the same. Where the primary host is not present, populations are anholocyclic. The genus is restricted to East Asia.
Reticulaphis rotifera (Fan-haired scale aphid) East Asia
Adult apterae of Reticulaphis rotifera (see pictures below) are broadly oval, 1.1-1.4 times longer than wide, black with purplish-blue tinge, and with white marginal wax. The antennae are beneath the head, shorter than the space between them, with 3 indistinct segments, and bearing 2 minute secondary rhinaria. The eyes are submarginal (=near the body margin), with 2 facets. The prosoma (=cephalothorax) is distinctly reticulated with pale thin lines. The dorsum has 3 deep transverse ridges on the median area, and several rounded areas surrounding it. The prosoma has 10 pairs of comparatively thick marginal hairs with fan-shaped apices (see picture below of clarified mount) (cf. Reticulaphis fici and Reticulaphis distylii, whose marginal hairs have distinctly acute apices). The legs are short, the front and middle legs concealed under the body, and the hind legs somewhat exposed. Abdominal tergites are also reticulated. There are no siphunculi. Abdominal tergite VIII is an equilateral triangle, with 4 hairs, the central two longer than outer two. The cauda is knobbed, constricted basally. The anal plate is deeply bilobed, each lobe with 5-7 hairs. Reticulaphis rotifera is a small aphid, the body length of adult apterae is only 0.48-0.55 mm. Immature Reticulaphis rotifera (see colony in second picture below) are yellow-green with a thin white wax margin.
Images above by permission, copyright Sunil Joshi & Poorani, J. Aphids of Karnataka (accessed 12/2/20).
Alatae of Reticulaphis rotifera (not pictured) have the head & thorax sclerotic. Secondary rhinaria are distributed 19-27 on antennal segment III, 4-8 on segment IV, and 4-5 on segment V. The rostrum is very short. Abdominal segments V & VI appear to be merged having 2 pairs of large marginal hairs, whilst tergites I-IV & VII have one pair of such hairs. All larger hairs are fan-shaped. Marginal hairs on tergites IV-VII are on dark scleroites. The cauda is knobbed, and the anal plate is divided into two lobes.
Apterae of Reticulaphis rotifera are found on the undersides of Ficus virgata leaves in Taiwan. What is thought to be the same species has also been recorded from other Ficus spp. in Java and in southern India. The life cycle is unknown. Yeh (2008) noted that in Taiwan the species is found on mature, senescing leaves of hosts, and is adapted to hills or lower mountainous areas. The species is found in Taiwan and Java, and also Karnataka in India.