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Aphididae : Tamaliinae : Tamalia


Genus Tamalia

Tamalia aphids

On this page: Tamalia coweni

Tamalia [Macrosiphini]

Tamalia have the antennal tubercles and the median frontal tubercle absent. The antennae are 6-segmented, with transverse rows of minute spicules, and in the alates narrow transverse secondary rhinaria. The terminal process is short, less than 0.5 times the base of antennal segment VI. In the alate the forewing has the media vein twice branched. The first tarsal segment has 2 dorsal and 7 ventral hairs. The siphunculi are essentially poriform. The cauda is rounded, broader than long and the anal plate is entire.

There are 4-5 species of Tamalia, all found in North America. Tamalia are monoecious holocyclic on manzanitas (Arctostaphylos, Ericaceae). They live concealed in galls on leaves. Both the ovipara and the male are alate. The ovipara lays an unusually large number of eggs.


Tamalia coweni (Manzanita leafgall aphid) Canada, Western USA, Mexico

Feeding by the aphid Tamalia coweni on manzanita (Arctostaphylos) leaves induces red or reddish-green elongate to pod-shaped galls (see first picture below) within which the aphids feed and develop. Adult apterae of Tamalia coweni (see second picture below) are dull dirty yellow to dark green or blackish, with variably-developed dark sclerotic cross-bands on the tergites and sternites (cf. Tamalia inquilinus adult apterae, which have the tergum entirely sclerotic and coloured dusky dark). The head, appendages and genital plate are dark. The antennae are usually 4-segmented (cf. Tamalia inquilinus, which has 5 antennal segments). The apical rostral segment (RIV+V) is 0.9-1.5 times the length of the second hind tarsal segment (HT II) and bears 4-13 accessory hairs (cf. Tamalia dicksoni and Tamalia milleri, which have RIV+V 1.8-2.1 times as long as HT II, with 18-39 accessory hairs). The dorsal body surface is ornamented with numerous small spicules. Siphunculi are present as pores on small flattened cones. The body length of adult apterae is 1.25-1.5 mm. Immature Tamalia coweni are greenish without any cross bands.

First picture above copyright John Rusk, second picture above copyright James Bailey,
each under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
Third picture above copyright Jesse Rorabaugh under a public domain (CCO) licence.

The alate Tamalia coweni (see PMH Handbook) has a dusky abdomen with transverse spino-pleural sclerotic cross bands and a light brown pterostigma.

Tamalia coweni feeds on manzanitas and bearberries (Arctostaphylos spp.) inducing characteristic galls. Tamalia species have a unique biology amongst galling aphids including an alate ovipara and no host alternation: all other galling-aphid taxa are host-alternating or secondarily monophagous (Miller, 2005 ). The overwintering eggs hatch in late winter or spring and the emerging fundatrices move to the leaves where they feed. Both the fundatrix and third generation aphids (referred to as foundresses) of Tamalia coweni induce galls. Both fundatrices and foundresses are wingless and generally remain within the gall, alternating with winged individuals, which disperse from the galls. In the final, sexual generation in fall, both males and oviparae are winged and disperse before mating. The eggs are laid on bark at the base of the host plant. The manzanita leafgall aphid is found in western North America, across boreal Canada to Ontario, and south through western USA to Mexico.



We thank the photographers named in the picture credits above for the various images shown. We have used the genus and species accounts of Pike (2003), Palmer (1952) & Hottes & Frison (1931) along with information from Roger Blackman & Victor Eastop in Aphids on Worlds Plants. We fully acknowledge these authors and those listed in the reference sections 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


  • Hottes, F.C. & Frison, T.H. (1931). The Plant Lice, or Aphiidae, of Illinois. Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin 19(3), 123-447. Full text

  • Miller, D.G. (2005). Ecology and radiation of galling aphids (Tamalia; Hemiptera: Aphididae) on their host plants (Ericaceae) Basic and Applied Ecology 6, 463-469. Full text

  • Palmer, M.A. (1952). Aphids of the Rocky Mountain Region: including primarily Colorado and Utah, but also bordering area composed of southern Wyoming, southeastern Idaho and northern New Mexico. Full text

  • Pike, K.S. et al. (2003). Aphids of Western North America North of Mexico with Keys to Subfamilies and Genera for Female Alatae. WSU Extension Bulletin Office 282 pp.