Thursday, 2 April 2015

Restharrow dwelling Aphid from France and Spain.

Aphids are small members of the Insect Order Hemiptera (True Bugs) which feed by sucking sap from host Plants. They are often considered serious agricultural pests due to their very high reproduction rates, which can lead to them overwhelming plants rapidly and makes them very hard to eradicate. Most Aphids are alate (wingless) viviparous females, which are capable of giving birth to clones of themselves, which are very close to the adult stage and can feed immediately and give birth to new clones within weeks or sometimes days. At the end of summer Aphids produce a sexual generation, comprising ovivaporous (egg laying) females which lay eggs, the overwintering stage. The eggs hatch the next spring producing apterous viviparous females and males, which disperse in search of new host plants, mate and give birth to live wingless females, beginning the cycle again.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 17 February 2015, Juan Nieto Nafría, Marta Aldea and Marta Castro of the Departamento de Biodiversidad y Gestión Ambiental at the Universidad de León describe a new species of Aphid from southern Spain and southeastern France.

The new species is placed in the genus Acyrthosiphon and given the specific name pilosum, meaning ‘hairy’. The species is described from 154 wingless and 39 wingled viviparous and three oviviparous females from France and twelve wingless viviparous females from Spain, all collected from species of Ononis (Restharrows). Wingless viviparous females range from 2.400 – 3.725 mm in length, winged females were 2.125 – 3.525 mm and oviviparous females were 2.400 – 2.600 mm; all were green in colour.

Acyrthosiphon pilosum (left) apterous viviparous female: (A) habitus; (B) antenna, proximal; (C) rostrum, distal; (D) marginal zone of abdominal segment 1–5, with marginal tubercles; (E) end of tibia and tarsus (in part) of a hind leg; (F) siphunculus; (G) cauda, and anal and genital (in part) plates, (right) (A–B) alate viviparous female, (C–D) oviparous female: (B) III antennal segment; (D) hind tibia. Nieto Nafría et al. (2015).

See also…

A new species of Fern-feeding Aphid from Thailand.                                            
Aphids are small Hemipteran Insects (True Bugs) that live on plants, draining sap with specialized mouthparts. They can reproduce extremely rapidly as they are...

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