Pemphigus bursarius L Lettuce root aphid

This aphid is a widespread and often important pest of lettuce; the leaves turn yellow and the plants become stunted. Attacks can be very serious and, in dry weather, infested plants may be killed; crops sown from April to June are most likely to be attacked.


This species overwinters in the egg stage on Populus nigra Ttalica'. In the spring, wingless females initiate characteristic pouch-like galls by feeding on the petioles of young leaves. Small colonies of aphids develop within these structures until, in the early summer, winged forms are reared; they eventually escape through a beak-like opening and migrate to wild and cultivated lettuce and to other Asteraceae, including Sonchus. Colonies of wingless aphids then develop on the roots of these summer hosts until the autumn, when winged forms are again produced. These aphids return to Populus where egg-laying females (oviparae) eventually deposit winter eggs. Populations on lettuce often persist well into the winter, and a few aphids may survive in the soil to re-infest lettuces planted out in the following year.

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