Myzus persicae Sulzer Peachpotato aphid

The peach/potato aphid is a polyphagous pest of herbaceous plants, often attacking beet, cucumber (it is the main aphid pest of glasshouse-grown cucumber in northern areas of Britain), lettuce, mangold, oilseed rape, potato and vegetable brassicas; various ornamentals are also affected. This species is a notorious vector of plant viruses, including beet western yellows, cabbage black ringspot, carnation latent and chrysanthemum virus B, potato leaf roll virus and potato virus Y (the two most important aphid-borne viruses of potato in the UK), tomato yellow top and various mosaic viruses; the aphids also transmit cucumber mosaic from lettuce to cucumber. Direct feeding is rarely significant although, on certain protected crops, the aphids may cause distortion of leaves, buds and flowers, and stunting of terminal shoots.

BIOLOGY

This aphid usually breeds parthenogenetically and occurs throughout the year on a wide range of herbaceous plants. In some areas, however, the winter is passed in the egg stage on primary hosts such as nectarine and peach. Unlike many aphids, this species does not form dense colonies; also, the aphids are rather restless and frequently wander over the foodplant. Aphid numbers are usually greatest in July.

DESCRIPTION

Aptera 1.2-2.5 mm long; body oval and light green to yellowish-green or olive-green, occasionally mottled with pink or red; siphunculi moderately long (longer than the third antennal segment), pale but dark-tipped, the apical half slightly swollen (Fig. 190e); cauda bluntly triangular and clearly visible from above (cf. Myzus ascalonicus, p. 116); head with convergent lateral tubercles (Fig. 189f).

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