Biology, images, analysis, design...
Aphids Find them How to ID AphidBlog
"It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important" (Sherlock Holmes)

Search this site

Aphidomorpha : Aphididae : Drepanosiphinae


Subfamily Drepanosiphinae (sensu Remaudière)

Biology and Morphology

On this page: Biology Morphology Genera


The Drepanosiphinae is a rather small subfamily with 40 species in 5 genera (and 8 extinct ones). All species are holocyclic monoecious, feeding on members of the maple (Aceraceae) family. They are active, rather robust, alate aphids. Some species in the Drepanosiphum genus form a remarkable uniformly-spaced pattern of aggregation on the undersides of sycamore leaves in shade (see picture below).

Drepanosiphum platanoidis aestivating alates.

Some genera, for example Drepanosiphum, have specialised parasitoids: such as Discritulus planiceps (which pupates under the aphid in a flat disc), Monoctonus pseudoplatani and Trioxys cirsii (which emerge from pale mummies), and Aphelinus thomsoni (which emerge from black mummies). They have a holarctic distribution (North America, Eurasia) with one genus Drepanosiphoniella that is only found at high altitudes.



All Drepanosiphinae viviparae are alate. The compound eyes always have an ocular tubercle. There is no epicranial suture on the ventral side of the head. The accessory rhinaria of the last antennal segment are often scattered. Secondary rhinaria are in a row on the basal part of antennal segment III; they are transversely oval, most of them occupying more than half of width of that segment. The basal part of the rostral segment II does not have a sclerotized wishbone-shaped arch.

Drepanosiphum platanoidis alate.

The body dorsum sometimes has capitate hairs, but never stellate or mushroom-shaped ones. Marginal tubercles are absent on the pronotum and the tergites. Like the Calaphidinae, tergite VIII never has a deep median incision. In the alate morph the fore femora are almost always adapted for jumping, they are enlarged or swollen with shovel-like tibial bases. If the fore legs are not modified (Drepanosiphoniella) then the body hairs are very long. The empodial setae are mostly fan-shaped or rod-shaped, seldom hair-like. The apical tibial setae are often developed as spines, particularly in the alate morph. The siphunculi are tubular, much longer than wide, often very long, narrowing towards apices. The cauda is knobbed and the anal plate is slightly emarginated or bilobed.

Males are mostly alate, rarely apterous. Oviparae have the anal plate rounded and cauda with a knob little separated by constriction, different from that of the viviparous form. Ovipara have no subsiphuncular wax gland plates, and the posterior abdomen is often protruding.

Drepanosiphum platanoidis ovipara and eggs.

Drepanosiphinae Genera

Genus Drepanaphis [Drepanosiphini]

Moderate-sized aphids native to the Americas. The adult viviparae are all winged. Their most conspicuous feature is the dorsal abdominal tubercles that are variably developed on abdominal tergites I-IV and are often conspicuously pigmented. The siphunculi are flask-shaped. Alate males and apterous oviparae develop in autumn, and they overwinter in the egg stage.

There are 17 species of Drepanaphis all feeding on maples (Aceraceae). They are all native to North America but one species, Drepanaphis acerifoliae, has proved to be invasive and is now found in several continental European countries.

Species overview


Image copyright Marko Šćiban, all rights reserved.

Genus Drepanosiphum [Drepanosiphini]

Medium-sized to large elongate long-legged aphids. The antennae are long and the siphunculi are long and tubular All viviparae and males are winged. The oviparae are large and wingless, with the end of the abdomen extended like an ovipositor.

A genus of eight species all living on the leaves of sycamore or maple (Aceraceae). They form spaced-out aggregations on the undersides of leaves in the shade. They have a sexual stage in the life cycle, but do not host-alternate. They are not attended by ants.

Species overview



We particularly thank Colin Favret and Roger Blackman, who have provided invaluable assistance. Most of the subfamily diagnoses have been taken from Heie & Wegierek (2009b), Quednau (1999, 2003, 2010) and Blackman & Eastop (2021), with additional material from Russell (1982),Stroyan (1977), Stroyan (1984) and many others listed in the references for these pages.

We also thank Marko Šćiban for allowing us to reproduce his image, above. Note: Any images on pages that are not individually credited are copyright InfluentialPoints under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

Note: Any images on pages that are not individually credited are copyright InfluentialPoints under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

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