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Saltusaphidinae : Thripsaphidini : Subsaltusaphis picta


Subsaltusaphis picta

Painted sedge aphid

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

Identification & Distribution:

Adult apterae of Subsaltusaphis picta are whitish yellow to orange-yellow (see pictures below), with variably developed longitudinal dark markings and tranverse dark intersegmental muscle sclerites (cf. Subsaltusaphis flava which has no trace of dark longitudinal lines). Some or all of the dorsal hairs on the head, thorax and abdomen are modified into the shape of an everted umbrella -these microchaetae have also been described as 'acacia-tree-shaped' or 'mushroom-shaped' (cf Thripsaphis spp. which have all their dorsal body hairs thorn-like or very fine). The antennae are black beyond the basal half of the third segment, and the third antennal segment is 1.2-1.5 times the length of the sixth antennal segment (terminal process + base together). The variably developed longitudinal dark markings are less dark than the dark tranverse intersegmental muscle sclerites and there is often a trace of a darker spinal stripe (cf. Subsaltusaphis ornata which has clearly defined pleural longitudinal dark stripes that are almost as dark as the intersegmental markings and are on either side of a very pale spinal region with no trace of a spinal stripe). The body length of the adult Subsaltusaphis picta aptera is 2.4-3.0 mm.

First image above copyright Thomas Legrand, all rights reserved.
Second and third images copyright Poul Ulrik, all rights reserved.

The pictures below show a Subsaltusaphis picta aptera dorsal and ventral in isopropyl alcohol.

The first picture below shows the dorsal abdominal markings on an apterous Subsaltusaphis picta aptera demonstrating that the longitudinal markings are less dark than the transverse intersegmental markings. Note also the small dark nodules concentrated within the dusky patches. The second picture below shows the small pointed nodules over the cuticular surface interspersed with acacia-tree-shaped microchaetae.

Subsaltusaphis picta alatae have a large dark lobed spinopleural plate on abdominal segments III-V, dark marginal sclerites and 11-16 secondary rhinaria on the third antennal segment.

The painted sedge aphid lives on sedge (Carex sp.) and sometimes also on club rush (Scirpus) growing at the edge of water. Sexual forms have been recorded in autumn. Subsaltusaphis picta is widely distributed in Europe , and is also found in Kazakhstan and east Siberia.


Other aphids on same host:


Our particular thanks to Thomas Legrand and Poul Ulrik for their images of Subsaltusaphis picta, and to Poul Ulrik for sending us a sample.

Whilst we make every effort to ensure that identifications are correct, we cannot absolutely warranty their accuracy. We have mostly made 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 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).

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