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Aphidinae : Aphidini : Sanbornia juniperi


Sanbornia juniperi

Humpback juniper aphid

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

Identification & Distribution

Adult apterae of Sanbornia juniperi (see first picture below) are an unusual humpback-shape with a tubercle at the highest point. They are coloured green, with a dorsal coat of flaky, transparent wax. Their antennae are usually 4-segmented (cf. Siphonatrophia cupressi, which have 5- or 6-segmented antennae). The antennal terminal process is more than 0.5 times the base of antennal segment VI (cf. Gootiella tremulae which has the terminal process less than 0.25 times the length of segment VI). The antennal tubercles are well developed, and the frons has a median quadrate (=cubical) projection. The siphunculi are reduced to minute pores hardly larger than spiracles (cf. Siphonatrophia cupressi, which has siphunculi as small, pale cones). The cauda is long and tapering, with more than 20 hairs (cf. Siphonatrophia cupressi, which has a tongue-shaped cauda with about 10 hairs). In slide mounts the cauda of both apterae and alatae appear dusky or dark, so the pale appearance in the live aptera shown below presumably results from a coating of wax. The body length of adult Sanbornia juniperi apterae is 1.2-1.4 mm.

Note: Boudreaux (1948) redescribes Sanbornia juniperi giving more detail on the morphology of this remarkable species. The only species it is likely to be confused with is Siphonatrophia cupressi, an excellent picture of which is given in Lumbierres et al. (2015).

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

Alatae of Sanbornia juniperi (see second picture above) have a pale brownish-green head and thorax, a green abdomen, mainly dark antennae and dusky legs and cauda. Immatures are green, although developing alatae have dark wing buds (see first picture below).

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

Sanbornia juniperi feeds on native American junipers (Juniperus scopularum, Juniperus virginiana), as well as on Juniperus chinensis and possibly on Cupressus. There is no host alternation. The unusual shape of the apterae appears to be cryptic, mimicking the juniper leaf scales (see second picture above). In USA oviparae and alate males occur in October-November. Trioxys cupressicola may be a specialized parasitoid. Sanbornia juniperi is found in the USA and Canada and also in Brazil, the latter possibly as an introduction on imported juniper trees.


Other aphids on the same host

Sanbornia juniperi has been recorded on 3 species of juniper (Juniperus chinensis, Juniperus scopulorum, Juniperus virginiana) and possibly on Cupressus lusitanica.


We are especially grateful to Claude Pilon for pictures of Sanbornia juniperi (for more of her excellent pictures see).

Identification of specimens photographed by Claude Pilon was confirmed by Eric Maw by microscopic examination and DNA analysis of preserved specimens. For taxonomic details we have used the accounts of Boudreaux (1948) and Maw et al (2000) together with 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


  • Boudreaux, H.B. (1948). New species of Louisiana Aphididae, and notes on Sanbornia juniperi Pergande. The Florida Entomologist 31(4), 96-105. Full text

  • Lumbierres, B. et al. (2015). First record of the invasive Siphonatrophia cupressi (Swain) (Aphididae Aphidini Aphidina) in the Iberian Peninsula. Redia 98, 141-144. Full text

  • Maw, E. et al. (2000). Checklist of the Hemiptera of Canada and Alaska. National Research Council of Canada. Request full text