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Aphidomorpha : Aphididae : Saltusaphidinae


Subfamily Saltusaphidinae

Biology and Morphology

On this page: Biology Morphology Genera Tribe Saltusaphidini Tribe Thripsaphidini


The Saltusaphidinae has 55 species in 12 genera in 2 tribes (Saltusaphidini, Thripsaphidini). They are almost entirely associated with the Cyperaceae, the only known exception being lziphya leegei (Borner), which feeds on Juncus spp. As far as is known, all of the species are monoecious and holocyclic. Because of the nature of their host preferences, none of the species is known to be of economic importance and the habits of none have been well studied.

Subsaltusaphis picta aptera. Image by permission, copyright Thomas Legrand, all rights reserved.

The body in life often has some waxy powdering, in some genera (Thripsaphis, Sminthuraphis) with flocculent waxy secretions (see picture of Thripsaphis cyperi). The subfamily is present throughout Europe and North America.

Thripsaphis cyperi aptera & nymph. Image copyright Andrew Jensen under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

Of the 56 species known, at least 26 species are restricted to the Palaearctic region and 19 are restricted to the Nearctic region. Two species, Alaphis verrucosa and Trichocallis cyperi, occur widely throughout the Holarctic region. Saltusaphis scirpa is known from Europe and Africa and Allaphis thripsoides occurs in Europe and North America and has been introduced into New Zealand and Australia.



Adult viviparae may be apterous or alate, but alates are rare in some species. They usually have an elongate body form, or if oval then with distinctive black dorsal markings and fore and mid-femora much enlarged for jumping. All morphs have compound eyes with no ocular tubercle; the triommatidium is contained in the compound eye (but one Saltusaphidini, Neosaltusaphis bodenheimeri, has a poorly developed ocular tubercle). The front of the head sometimes has a median protrusion, and the antennal tubercles are poorly developed. Antennae are shorter than the body, and the terminal process is narrowed from its base to the apex. Secondary rhinaria are round and only on segment III. The rostrum is short and the second rostral segment has the wishbone-shaped sclerotic stiffening well developed.

Thripsaphis cyperi aptera, alate. Images copyright CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share-Alike license.

In apterae the head and pronotum are indistinctly separated or, rarely, fused (in Peltaphis). The body dorsum is flat or somewhat arched - in which case the leading setae are often on low, conical elevations (Iziphya). Dorsal body setae are numerous, often modified to become fan-shaped or mushroom-shaped. The legs may be normal, or fore and middle legs (or more rarely, all legs) modified for leaping.

Iziphya bufo aptera. Image copyright Pierre Gros under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

The legs and antennae are often covered with rings of spicules. The empodial setae are mostly fan-shaped, but sometimes hair-like. First tarsal segments always have 5 ventral and no dorsal setae. The siphunculi are pore-like, hardly raised above the surface or short cylindrical, located on tergite VI or on the border between tergites V and VI. The cauda has a square-ish knob. The anal plate is bilobed or incised.

In the alate morph the ventral side of the head has no epicranial suture. The median ocellus is nearly in a frontal position, far removed from clypeus. The wings are often somewhat elongate. The venation in the fore wing is normal, the hind wing has 1 or sometimes 2 oblique veins, with their bases widely separated in the latter case. The head is often flattened. The oviparae and males are apterous, the latter dwarfish. Oviparae have the anal segment normal as in vivipara, with 1 pair of palette-shaped, perforated, subsiphuncular wax gland plates - pseudosensoria are only on the hind tibiae.

Saltusaphidinae Genera

The Saltusaphidinae have 55 species in 12 genera in 2 tribes (Saltusaphidini, Thripsaphidini).

Tribe Saltusaphidini



Tribe Thripsaphidini


Genus Subsaltusaphis [Saltusaphidini]

Subsaltusaphis are small to medium-sized long-bodied aphids. The empodial hairs are spatulate. Dorsal hairs are mostly very short and mushroom-shaped, with an incised "cap" so that they are stellate (=star-like) in dorsal view. The apterae lack secondary rhinaria. Alatae have a dark central abdominal patch on tergites 3-5, incised between segments.

There are 12 species of Subsaltusaphis in North America, Europe and Asia, all feeding on sedges (Carex species).

Species overview


Image copyright Thomas Legrand, all rights reserved.


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 CBC group, Andrew Jensen, Thomas Legrand and Pierre Gros 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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