Rhopalosiphoninus latysiphon Davidson Bulb potato aphid

This aphid is a generally common pest of glasshouse-grown bulbs or corms, and of potatoes in store or in chittting houses; heavy infestations cause discoloration and death of sprouting shoots. The aphids will also damage such crops in the field, infested potato haulm turning yellow and wilting, significantly reducing yields. Heavily infested plants may be killed, especially in hot, dry summers when crops are under particular stress. Although known to transmit viruses, including potato leaf roll, this species is not an important virus vector.

BIOLOGY

Subterranean field infestations occur throughout the summer on potatoes, tulips and other hosts, colonies (which often include winged forms) typically becoming established several centimetres below the soil surface. The aphids are entirely parthenogenetic and breed without a sexual phase. Unlike many other species, their colonies are not attended by ants. The aphids usually survive the winter in store on host bulbs, corms or tubers.

DESCRIPTION

Aptera 1.5-2.5 mm long; body plump, shiny dark olive-green, with a distinct shiny blackish shield over the dorsal part of the abdomen; siphunculi strongly and abruptly swollen, shiny black (Fig. 190f); cauda bluntly triangular; head smooth (i.e. not spinose: cf. the following species); antennae noticeably hairy. Nymph green; siphunculi black.

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