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Hormaphidinae : Cerataphidini : Tuberaphis owadai


Tuberaphis owadai

Permanent coral gall aphid

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

Identification & Distribution

The gall of Tuberaphis owadai (see picture below) is coral-like in appearance with rather thin gall walls. The surface is covered with fine, velvet-like hairs that catch the wax, and the entire galls are silvery gray and conspicuous (cf. the gall of Tuberaphis takenouchii which has no fine hairs, and is pale waxy green). Each gall consists of a hollow tube ramified like a tree. The inner spaces of the ‘twigs’ are united to form a single cavity. There are many ostioles on the projections, through which alates escape and soldiers crawl out from the gall. The galls are quite large measuring from 9-24 cm across, The colony sizes of the galls is estimated to be approximately 50-180 thousand individuals, of which 41-52% are soldiers. There are numerous soldiers on the surface of the galls.

Image above copyright Aoki & Kurosu (2010).

The adult aptera in the gall has membranous tergites, without demarcated wax plates (wax plates are present, but indistinct). The head has a pair of spine-like hairs. The antennae are five-segmented, longer than the fore tibia, and with a few secondary rhinaria. The ultimate rostral segment is 0.100–0.108 (0.104) mm long, without secondary hairs. The siphunculi are ring like, encircled by 6-11 hairs. The anal plate is bilobed, and the cauda has 15–18 hairs. The body length of the adult Tuberaphis owadaiaptera is 1.5-1.7 mm.

The alate viviparous female (sexupara) has a pair of small, finger-like projections between the antennae on the underside of the head. The antennae are 5-segmented, 0.29–0.35 times as long as body length, and with dense spinulose imbrications on segments III–V; the terminal process is 0.14–0.22 as long as the base of the segment. Antennal segments III–V bear 8–13, 1–5, 1–5 ring-like secondary rhinaria, respectively (cf. Tuberaphis takenouchii which has more than 3 secondary rhinaria on IV and usually none on V). The rostrum is short, only reaching the fore coxae. The trochanters and femora are fused. The forewings have the media vein single branched and the two cubitals fused at base. Siphunculi on abdominal segment V are ringlike, and surrounded by 4–7 hairs. The anal plate is bilobed, and the cauda is rounded at the apex, indistinctly constricted at the base. The body length of alatae is 1.5-1.9 mm.

Tuberaphis owadai does not host alternate, but instead completes its life cycle on snowbells (Styrax tonkinensis & Styrax japonicus). It is holocyclic and alate sexuparae emerge from the galls in September. These produce the sexuales on Styrax. The species has so far been found in China (Yunnan) and Vietnam.


Other aphids on the same host

Tuberaphis owadai has been recorded on 2 species of Styrax (Styrax japonicus, Styrax tonkinensis)


We are grateful to Utako Kurosu & Shigeyuki Aoki for providing images from Aoki & Kurosu (2010) for this page.

We have used the keys and species accounts of Kurosu & Aoki (2003), Aoki & Kurosu (2010) & Jiang et al. (2012), together with those of 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


  • Aoki, S. & Kurosu, U. (2010). A review of the biology of Cerataphidini (Hemiptera, Aphididae, Hormaphidinae), focusing mainly on their life cycles, gall formation, and soldiers. Psyche 2010, Article ID 380381, 34 pp. Full text

  • Jiang, L.-Y. et al. (2012). The hormaphidine aphid genus Tuberaphis Takahashi (Hemiptera) from China with description of a new species. Oriental Insects, 46, 3-4. Full text

  • Kurosu, U. & Aoki, S. (2003). Tuberaphis owadai (Homoptera), a new aphid species forming a large gall on Styrax tonkinensis in northern Vietnam. Entomological Science 6, 89–96. Abstract