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Aphidomorpha : Aphididae : Tamaliinae


Subfamily Tamaliinae

Biology and Morphology

On this page: Biology Morphology Genera


The subfamily Tamaliinae has 5 species in 1 genus (Tamalia). They live in galls on manzanitas and bearberries (Arctostaphylos) (see picture below). Unlike other gall-producing aphids, Tamalia are monophagous rather than host alternating. They are characterised by having diverse and unusual life cycles. For example in Tamalia coweni, not only the fundatrix, but also later generations of wingless females are capable of inducing galls. Winged females disperse to other sites suitable for gall induction and deposit wingless gall-forming females. The Tamaliinae subfamily is restricted to North America.

Tamalia coweni gall. Image above copyright Eddie Dunbar, under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.



Adult Tamaliinae viviparae may be apterous or alate. On the aptera the eyes are reduced to triommatidia on the ocular tubercle which is very prominent (cf. Aphidinae which always have multi-facetted compound eyes, usually with triommatidia). The forehead is convex, and the median vertex suture is marked by a narrow unsclerified line. Antennae are very short with 4, 5 or 6 segments, and numerous spicules.

Tamalia coweni aptera. Image above copyright James Bailey under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The head and pronotum may be separate, or more-or-less fused. Both dorsal and ventral sides of the body are covered with spicules and numerous long sharp bristles. Sclerification and pigmentation is variable dorsally; it may be absent, or there may be broad bands (e.g. see picture of live aptera). The legs are short and the trochanter / femur suture is absent or not very marked (also in apterae of Aiceoninae & Phyllaphidinae). The tibiae and tarsi usually bear spicules, and the first tarsal segment bears 2, 4 or 6 bristles. The siphunculi are absent, or pores on small cones. The cauda is rounded, often fused by its edges to the anal plate. The body length is 1.3-2.1 mm

The winged viviparous female (see picture below) has eyes with a protruding ocular tubercle. The vertex is decorated with very many tapered, or blunt, or slightly capitate bristles. The midline suture is absent. The antennae are 6-segmented, with a short apically rounded terminal process. Secondary rhinaria are oval, and present on segments III, IV and often on V. The mesonotum has a membranous, transparent, triangular foramen between the base of the scutal lobes. The wings have complete venation, the anterior with curved radial sector, and the media vein with 3 branches. The cubitals are close together at their base.

Tamalia coweni alate. Image above copyright Jesse Rorabaugh under a public domain (CCO) licence.

The forelegs are normal, with a well separated trochanter. The abdomen is decorated with many bristles, and the cauda is rounded. Tamalia oviparae are winged (as are those of Aiceoninae, Phloeomyzinae, and most Neophyllaphidinae). The ovipara is very similar to the viviparous alate, but has a pair of large ventral wax plates on tergites VI and VII. The anal plate is membranous and provided at its lower part with a subtriangular, truncated median thickening. The tibiae lack pseudosensoria.

Tamaliinae 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 James Bailey, Eddie Dunbar and Jesse Rorabaugh 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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