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Brief Summary

    Aphididae: Brief Summary
    provided by wikipedia

    The Aphididae are a very large insect family in the aphid superfamily (Aphidoidea), of the order Hemiptera. Several thousand species are placed in this family, many of which are well known for being serious plant pests. They are also the family of insects containing most plant virus vectors (around 200 known) with the green peach aphid (Myzus persicae) being one of the most prevalent and indiscriminate carriers.

    Brief Summary
    provided by EOL authors
    Typically found in groups, members of the Family Aphididae (aphids) are soft-bodied, range in color from light yellow to dark grey, and may occasionally be winged. While most aphids measure around 2mm in length, the largest known species, Tuberolachnus salignus (the willow aphid), can grow to just under 6mm long. Aphids feed by extracting the sugary liquids from the phloem tissues of suitable plants through a hardened stylet; excess sugars are then excreted in the form of honeydew, a favored treat of ants, wasps, and other insects. Both the feeding process and the excretion of honeydew (by encouraging mold growth) can be destructive to plants, earning Aphididae a rather poor reputation among gardeners. Aphid sexuality is quite complex, including both asexual reproduction concluding with live birth and sexual reproduction concluding with egg laying. In spring, when hatching occurs, all emerging aphids are female and reproduce asexually, essentially giving birth to three or more clones of themselves every day. As the end of summer approaches, the reproductive strategy of aphids in climates with cold winters shifts and both males and females are produced. After mating, the sexually reproductive females deposit eggs in the protective crevices of plants; safe from harsh winter weather, these eggs hatch the following spring and the cycle begins anew. Aphids have a number of natural predators, including green lacewings, parasitic wasps, and the ever popular lady beetle. Aphid defenses range from waxy, thread-like shells to the storage and release of harsh chemicals derived from plants on which the aphids feed.

Comprehensive Description

    Aphididae
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    The Aphididae are a very large insect family in the aphid superfamily (Aphidoidea), of the order Hemiptera. Several thousand species are placed in this family, many of which are well known for being serious plant pests. They are also the family of insects containing most plant virus vectors (around 200 known) with the green peach aphid (Myzus persicae) being one of the most prevalent and indiscriminate carriers.

    Evolution

    Aphids originated in the late Cretaceous about 100 million years ago (Mya), but the Aphidinae which comprises about half of the 4700 described species and genera of aphids alive today come from their most recent radiation which occurred in the late Tertiary less than 10 Mya.[1][2]

    Characteristics

    Members of the Aphididae are soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects called aphids, as are other members of the superfamily Aphidoidea. Most of them have a pair of little tubes, called cornicles, projecting dorsally from the posteriorof their abdomens. The cornicles have been variously interpreted in the past, either as organs of excretion, or for the production of honeydew, but in fact their only confirmed function to date is that they produce fatty alarm pheromones when the insects are attacked by predators.[3]

    When wings are present they occur only on particular morphs called "alates", and wingless morphs are said to be "apterous". The forewing (mesothoracic wing) of the alate in the Aphididae has four to six veins attached to a major vein-like structure that has been interpreted as the combined stems of all the other major wing veins. That structure ends in a stigma, a solid spot on the anterior margin of the forewing. The rear (metathoracic) wings have a similar scheme, but simpler in structure, with no stigma[3] The rear wing however, does bear a hamulus, a small hook that, when in flight, engages the claval fold of the forewing, keeping the wing beats in synchrony.

    All aphids have very small eyes, sucking mouthparts in the form of a relatively long, segmented rostrum, and fairly long antennae.

    These insects are so small (a few millimeters in length), that winds can transport them for fairly long distances. They are often green, but might be red or brown, as well. They move quite slowly and cannot jump or hop. Aphids excrete a sugary liquid called honeydew, because the plant sap from which they feed contains excess carbohydrates relative to its low protein content. To satisfy their protein needs, they absorb large amounts of sap and excrete the excess carbohydrates. Honeydew is used as food by ants, honeybees, and many other insects.

    Genera

    There are an extremely large number of aphid genera which are dealt with under each subfamily. For which see taxobox.

    Selected species

    See also

    References

    1. ^ Von Dohlen CD, Moran NA (2000) Molecular data support a rapid radiation of aphids in the Cretaceous and multiple origins of host alternation. Biol J Linnean Soc 71: 689–717
    2. ^ Von Dohlen CD, Rowe CA, Heie OE (2006) A test of morphological hypotheses for tribal and subtribal relationships of Aphidinae (Insecta: Hemiptera: Aphididae) using DNA sequences. Mol Phylo Evol 38: 316–329
    3. ^ a b Richards, O. W.; Davies, R.G. (1977). Imms' General Textbook of Entomology: Volume 1: Structure, Physiology and Development Volume 2: Classification and Biology. Berlin: Springer. ISBN 0-412-61390-5..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"""""'"'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}