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Identification & Distribution

All viviparous adult Takecallis taiwana are alate. The alatae are pale green without wax, with a longitudinal dusky stripe on the middle of the head (see first picture below). The antennae are as long as, or shorter than, the body (cf. Takecallis arundinariae & Takecallis arundicolens which have antennae longer than the body), and are dark brown but with the basal part of segments III-VI pale. The thorax is light brownish-green, and the wings have slightly dusky bordered veins. There are no markings on the abdominal tergites, but abdominal tergites I and II bear conspicuous spinal tubercles (see second picture below). The siphunculi are pale and short with a dusky apex, and the cauda is pale and knobbed. The adult body length of Takecallis taiwana is 1.4-2.3 mm.

Immature Takecallis taiwana (see second and third pictures above) are distinctive being yellow-green to green with rows of dark spines on the dorsum.

The bamboo shoot aphid feeds on bamboos, usually Arundinaria and Phyllostachys species, or sometimes Bambusa or Sasa. Colonies can be found in the young, still unrolled leaves and on the younger leaves. Larger, more mature, colonies live on the undersides of the leaf bases. Sexual forms have been recorded in China, but where introduced it is thought to be anholocyclic, reproducing parthenogenetically throughout the year. Takecallis taiwana is native to China, Taiwan and Japan but has been introduced to Europe, South Africa, New Zealand, USA and South America.

 

Biology & Ecology

Life cycle

Stroyan (1977) only recorded Takecallis taiwana from Surrey, and describes it as being very rare in Britain. We have also found it be rare, finding it for the first time in June 2019 on bamboo growing in a hotel garden in Alfriston, East Sussex. Colonies comprised of young nymphs were found in the still-rolled young shoots of bamboo. The alate (see picture below) deposits the nymphs at the edge of a leaf roll, and the nymphs then move into the comparitive safety of the rolled young shoot.

The picture below shows the first and second instars in the leaf roll - the first instars are yellowish, but older instars are green.

Immature Takecallis taiwana have four longitudinal rows of dark spines running along the dorsum from the head to abdominal segment VI. Immature Takecallis arundinariae and Takecallis arundicolens have similar rows of spines, but they are pale, not dark. Shoots with aphid colonies often have parts that are prematurely senesced, possibly the result of the aphids' feeding.

As colonies grow and leaves unroll, the aphids spread out from the shoots over the undersides of the leaf bases.

In Brazil, Lazzari et al. (1999) reports low catches of alates of Takecallis taiwana in yellow pan traps - one was caught in mid-June, and four from the end of October to the end of December.

Interspecific competition / association

There is considerable niche separation between Takecallis taiwana and the other two co-occurring Takecallis species, Takecallis arundinariae and Takecallis arundicolens. Takecallis taiwana favours young shoots, whereas the other two prefer mature leaves. Nevertheless Takecallis taiwana can sometimes be found feeding with at least one of the other species. The picture below shows an immature green Takecallis taiwana feeding with several pale yellow immatures of another Takecallis species.

In Italy Limonta et al. (2002) found that the two species showed temporal niche separation. Takecallis arundinariae developed from February to the end of May and Takecallis taiwanus from the beginning of May to the first days of August.

Natural enemies

The only natural enemies we encountered on the bamboo in Alfriston, East Sussex were small spiders (see picture below) which lived on the bamboo leaves and did appear to be feeding on the aphids.

There are rather few reports of natural enemies of Takecallis arundicolens in the literature. In Georgia, Agekjan (1973) recorded three chrysopid and three hemerobiid species as predators of Takecallis taiwanus and another bamboo aphid, Melanaphis bambusae, in the region of the Black Sea coast. Rakhshani et al. (2017) reported a new parasitoid species, Trioxys remaudierei, attacking Takecallis aphids outside their area of origin.

Zhou et al. (2006) carried out bioassays and scanning electron microscopy of the entomophthoran fungus Conidiobolus obscurus for bamboo aphids as well as its effects on the fecundity of bamboo aphids to estimate bamboo aphid biocontrol potential. Conidiobolus obscurus can effectively infect four species of bamboo aphids, and most cadavers appeared in the first 2 days after inoculation. The final mortalities reached 74-91% at high concentrations of conidia among the tested species. The lowest LC 50 was estimated to be 57 conidia per mm2 for Takecallis taiwanus on day 5 after conidial shower. Moreover, the Conidiobolus obscurus-infected aphids only produced 3.9-18.2% progeny of the corresponding healthy aphids. It was concluded that Conidiobolus obscurus is able to restrain the development of bamboo aphid populations, and is suitable for further application in aphid biocontrol in bamboo forests.

 

Other aphids on the same host

Of approximately 50 aphid species that feed on bamboo worldwide, Blackman & Eastop (1984) provide formal identification keys for 12 'widely distributed species'.

Of those Baker (2015) lists just 4 as occurring in Britain: Melanaphis bambusae, Takecallis arundicolens, Takecallis arundinariae, and Takecallis taiwanus.

 

Damage and control

Takecallis taiwana is often regarded as an important pest of bamboo, with control measures applied both within its native area in China, and in countries where it is invasive. Hu Guoliang et al. (2001) reported that in Zejiang the aphid damages the tender leaves and shoots of three species of Phyllostachys bamboo. It goes through 50 parthenogenetic generations a year and does not have a sexual stage. They describe methods of control using various insecticides including cyhalothrin and malathion.

Acknowledgements

We have made provisional 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).

Useful weblinks

References

  • Hu Guoliang et al. (2001). Bionomics and control of Takecallis taiwanus. Journal of Zhejiang Forestry College 18(3), 294-296. Abstract

  • Lazzari, S.M.N. et al. (1999). Takecallis arundinariae (Essig) (Aphididae, Drepanosiphinae, Phyllaphidini) - first record in Brazil and comparison to Takecallis taiwanus (Takahashi). Revta bras. Zool. 16(3), 865-870. Full text

  • Rakhshani, E. et al. (2017). A new parasitoid (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Aphidiinae) of the invasive bamboo aphids Takecallis spp. (Hemiptera: Aphididae) from Western Europe. Journal of Natural History 51 (21-22), 1237-1248. Abstract

  • Limonta, L. et al. (2002). Field observations on Takecallis arundinariae (Essig) and T. taiwanus (Takahashi). Bollettino di Zoologia Agraria e di Bachicoltura 34(3), 397-404. Google

  • Stroyan, H.L.G. (1977). Homoptera: Aphidoidea (Part) - Chaitophoridae and Callaphidae. Handbooks for the identification of British insects. 2 (4a) Royal Entomological Society of London. Full text

  • Zhou, X. et al. (2014). The influence of the aphid-specific pathogen Conidiobolus obscurus (Entomophthoromycota: Entomophthorales) on the mortality and fecundity of bamboo aphids. Journal of Forestry Research 19, 388-394. Full text