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Pemphigus bursarius (L.)
Insecta, Homoptera, Pemphigidae .

Lettuce root aphid

Description, Biology, Life Cycle, Damage, Common Names, Images


[R]Description
- Fundatrix: 2.4-3.0 mm long; body greyish-green, ligthly covered with wax; antennae 4-segmented; head and legs brown.
- Winged fundatrix: 1.6-2.5 mm long; green-grey; antennae 6-segmented.
- Apterous virginopara: 1.5-2.7 mm long; yellowish-white with waxy patches on hind part of abdomen.
- Winged sexuparae: 1.6-2.7 mm long; orange-brown; wax-producing glands on thorax and abdomen: rostrum absent; antennae 6-segmented.
- Egg: greenish-white; covered with wax; 0.35 mm x 0.2 mm; difficult to detect.

[R]Biology
A heteroecious species having poplar (Populus italica, Populus nigra) as primary host and wild or cultivated Compositae, especially lettuce and chicory as secondary hosts.
- Adult: this aphid overwinters in the egg stage in the crevices of the bark of poplar. In the spring, fundatrices move to a petiole which they probe, thus causing the formation of a goatskin-shaped gall enclosing the young female (*) .
After 12 days, the latter reproduce, 100-250 winged fundatrigeniae appearing in a few weeks. Capable of reproducing immediately, these leave the gall and migrate to Compositae. They first infest the foliage and then multiply, giving rise to apterous virginoparae which colonize roots during the summer. In late summer, winged sexual forms emerge and migrate back to poplar where eggs will be laid.

[R]Life Cycle
- This aphid's life-cycle, which presents only one generation of fundatrigeniae, is characterized by the fact that individuals migrate rapidly to secondary hosts as early as June.
- Asexual reproduction on the secondary host sometimes occurs after the winged sexuparae have returned to poplar.

[R]Damage
Roots become covered with a whitish waxy secretion (*) . Lettuce has difficulty forming a head, leaves become yellow and the plant may wilt and die.


[R]Common Names
DE: Salatwurzellaus ES: Pulgon de la raiz de la lechuga FR: Puceron lanigère des racines de laitue, Puceron gallicole des pétioles de peuplier IT: Afide ceroso del pioppo PT: Piolho das raízes da alface GB: Lettuce root aphid

[R] Images

  1. Pemphigus bursarius (L.) (Coutin R. / OPIE)
    Gall on petiole of poplar The gall was sectioned to show the female fundatrix and its offspring as well as later opening point of gall at the time of migration.
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  2. Pemphigus bursarius (L.) (Coutin R. / OPIE)
    Colony on roots of lettuce Aphids secrete a whitish wax.
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