A New Aphid Species

15 July 2020 | Posted in Barry Yates , Rye Harbour , Insects
A New Aphid Species
Oriental Mugwort Aphid

In May 2018 two entomologists, Robert Brightwell and Robert Dransfield made one of their regular visits to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve and found some aphids they were unfamiliar with. The tiny green aphids were feeding on Mugwort plants close to the Discovery Centre. 

After much detective work and the expertise of Roger Blackman, the senior UK aphid taxonomist from The Natural History Museum, London it was identified as a Chinese aphid, Tuberocephalus tsengi that feeds on alternate host plants - Artemisias and Cherry trees - they have called it the Oriental Mugwort Aphid.

This is a new species for Europe and the discovery allowed a re-examination of two species in China that had been merged and led to the species found at Rye Harbour being re-established as a separate species again - full details in a detailed article here.

The most likely route of introduction of this aphid to Britain is via the plant trade, on cherry trees. One other species of Tuberocephalus has been introduced to Europe, on seedlings imported from Japan to France in 1991

In June 2020 a further colony of the Oriental Mugwort Aphid was found on Mugwort in Rye Harbour Village.

Comments

  • 16 Jul 2020 11:44:00

    This is very much an unfinished detective story.

    Nobody has ever found this species on their likely ‘primary host’, oriental cherry trees.

    Since the species probably look very different on that host, we would be very exited to find them.

    So if you live in the Rye Harbour/Winchelsea Beach area, and have an oriental cherry tree with strange caterpillar-sized galls on the leaves, please send us an email at info@influentialpoints.com

    Finding them would be a ‘first for science’!

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