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Aphidomorpha : Aphididae : Israelaphidinae


Subfamily Israelaphidinae

Biology and Morphology

On this page: Biology Morphology Genera


The Israelaphidinae is a very small subfamily of grass-feeding aphids with only 4 species in 1 genus (Israelaphis) with some 'primitive' features. Their life cycle is very unusual, and related to the Mediterranean climate. The parthenogenetic phase exploits short-lived annual grasses with a winter growth period following autumnal rains. Sexuales are produced and diapausing eggs laid in spring. Alatae are apparently very rare and only known for one species, so dispersal is very limited. They are only found in the Mediterranean region and western Iberia.

Israelaphis carmini / alistana aptera. Image reproduced by permission, copyright Daniel Rojas via, all rights reserved.



Adult Israelaphidinae viviparae may be apterous or alate - but alatae are rare. The apterae are green to yellow. In all morphs, the eyes are compound, usually with a triommatidium. The antennal tubercles are well developed. The antennae have an elongate terminal process, evenly tapering from the base to the apex of the last segment. There are secondary rhinaria on antennal segment III in the aptera. The head and the pronotum are separated. The apical rostral segment has no secondary setae. The second rostral segment has no wishbone-shaped stiffening. In the aptera the dorsum is armoured, with nodulose or wrinkled sculpturing. Dorsal abdominal hairs are often inconspicuous, arranged as transverse rows on the tergites. Spinal setae of tergite VIII are mostly on a pair of horn-like processes, and other tergites sometimes also have horn-like processes, which bear a hair on the side (see picture below).

Israelaphis lambersi aptera, mount. Image copyright Santiago-Alvarez.

Siphunculi are on tergite VI or between tergites V and VI. They are swollen in the middle, with a smooth or slightly striate apex. The knob of the cauda is egg-shaped or flask-shaped and the anal plate is bilobed. Their body length ranges from 1.9-3.0 mm.

The alate morph is extremely rare and has abnormal wing venation. The ventral side of head is without the epicranial suture and the median ocellus is situated ventrally near the anteclypeus. Antennal segment III has 0-1 secondary rhinaria. The foramen on the mesonotum is undeveloped and the mesoscutellum has no hairs. Venation in the fore wing is like the Mindarinae, with a pointed, elongate pterostigma. The radial sector (Rs) leaves the base of pterostigma and reaches to the apex of the wing, and the media irregularly shaped. The hind wing has only 1 oblique vein. On the ventral side of the abdomen large sclerites are developed. Oviparae and males are apterous. The ovipara has the anal segment normal, but the cauda is different from that of the viviparous form, being rounded or short triangular. Subsiphuncular wax gland plates are undeveloped and pseudosensoria are only on the hind tibiae. In life there is sometimes slight whitish waxy powdering.

Israelaphidinae Genera


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 Santiago-Alvarez and Daniel Rojas for allowing us to reproduce their images, above. 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).

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