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Aphidinae : Macrosiphini : Rhopalomyzus lonicerae


Rhopalomyzus lonicerae

Honeysuckle-grass aphid

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

Identification & Distribution

Overwintering eggs of Rhopalomyzus lonicerae on their primary host Lonicera (honeysuckle) hatch to give fundatrices (not pictured here) which have a dark green body, powdered with greyish wax, and dark siphunculi and cauda. These fundatrices only produce alatae which have a yellow abdomen with a dark dorsal patch on the middle tergites and smaller marginal and postsiphuncular sclerites. The alatae migrate to the secondary host (grasses) where they produce large numbers of pale cream apterae (see pictures below). Their antennae have the apex of antennal segment 3 and segments 4-6 dark. The antennal tubercles are well developed and diverging; the median frontal tubercle is broad and flat. The siphunculi are pale and strongly swollen with the width near the distal end 1.7-2.0 times the basal width. The siphunculi are 1.3-1.6 times the length of the pale cauda (cf. Rhopalomyzus poae, which has siphunculi 1.9-2.5 times the length of the cauda). The body length of the adult aptera of Rhopalomyzus lonicerae is 2.0-2.6 mm.

Second image copyright Sandy Rae, all rights reserved.

In autumn alate sexuparae (and later winged males) migrate from the secondary host back to the primary host, honeysuckle. The alate Rhopalomyzus lonicerae (see first picture below) has a variably developed patch on adominal tergites 3-5 and fragmented cross bands on tergites 6 and 7. The alatae produce nymphs which develop to oviparae (see second picture below). The ovipara is pale yellow with conspicuously dark and swollen hind tibiae.

Both images above by permission, copyright Claude Pilon, all rights reserved.

Feeding by the sexupara and her offspring turn their area of leaf mottled yellow (see picture below).

Image above by permission, copyright Claude Pilon, all rights reserved.

The clarified slide mounts below are of adult viviparous female Rhopalomyzus lonicerae : wingless, and winged.

Micrographs of clarified mounts by permission of Roger Blackman, copyright AWP all rights reserved.

Rhopalomyzus lonicerae host alternates between the primary host, honeysuckle (Lonicera) and the secondary hosts which are various grasses (Poaceae), especially reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea). The leaves of the grass may be densely covered by aphids. It has a sexual stage in the life cycle, overwintering on the primary host as eggs. Rhopalomyzus lonicerae is found throughout Europe, central Asia and Siberia.


Other aphids on same host:

Primary hosts

Rhopalomyzus lonicerae has been recorded from 34 Lonicera species.

Secondary hosts


Our thanks to Sandy Rae for his photo of the colony of the honeysuckle-grass aphid, and to Claude Pilon for her pictures of the honeysuckle-grass aphid on Lonicera (for more of her excellent pictures see and). Our thanks also to Roger Blackman for images of his clarified slide mounts.

Identification of specimens from the primary host was confirmed by Eric Maw by morphological examination and DNA analysis. For pictures on the secondary host, we have made identifications from high resolution photos of living specimens, along with host plant identity. These were 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).