Aphis (genus)

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Aphis fabae colony (click on image to enlarge it)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Aphis Linnaeus, 1758

The genus includes around 500 species which have many different host plants, including various herbaceous crops or cereals. The pest species are usually polyphagous (e.g. Aphis gossypii, Aphis fabae) or oligophagous (e.g. Aphis glycines, Aphis pomi). Many species are also important vectors of plant viruses.

During the summer, wingless females are common which reproduce parthenogenetically, giving birth to live nymphs. Winged forms are produced intermittently which disperse, often over large distances by air currents. In temperate regions, sexual reproduction usually occurs in autumn when the females lay eggs which overwinter. In warmer regions, the females might reproduce parthenogenetically all year round with males being rare or even missing. Some species alternate seasonally between two host plants and the overwintering generation might develop on a non crop host.

Wingless females are typically around 1-3 mm long. The development of one generation is often as short as 2 weeks which leads to population explosions if there are suitable conditions and a lack of natural enemies.

Currently, the following species have been entered into the system: