woolly aphids and gall-making aphids

(Subfamily Eriosomatinae)

Overview

Eriosomatinae is the subfamily of woolly aphids and gall-making aphids. There are 310 valid species in 48 genera worldwide, at least 34 species in North America north of Mexico, and at least 23 species in Minnesota.

Eriosomatinae are plant parasitic aphids. They are found on the stems, leaves, and flowers of various plants. Some are vectors of plant diseases. Most cause just minor damage, but some are serious agricultural pests.

Many Eriosomatinae have a complex life cycle involving multiple generations per year. Many have life cycles involving cyclical parthenogenesis, undergoing several generations that reproduce without mating before producing a sexually reproducing generation.

 
woolly aphid (Subfamily Eriosomatinae)
Photo by Greg Watson
 
After mating, the female lays just a single egg. Many alternate hosts each season, producing a winged generation that migrates to a second plant species. Most produce abnormal plant growths (galls) on the primary host plant. This is the feature that gives the subfamily the second of its two common names.
Description

Eriosomatinae are soft-bodied, usually somewhat pear-shaped, and to 516 (4 to 8 mm) in length. Most produce large amounts of a filamentous substance that appears woolly or waxy and covers all or nearly all of the body, both in the nymphal and adult stages. This is the feature that gives the subfamily the first of its two common names. However, this feature is not unique to this family. Nymphs feed in close aggregations, forming a large woolly mass for protection.

Some Eriosomatinae have a pair of very small finger-like processes (cornicles) near the end of the abdomen. Others have no cornicles. When wings are present they are membranous and are not covered with a whitish powder. The media vein (M) on the forewing is not branched. The hindwing is much smaller than the forewing. The last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, has two segments.

Distribution

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 27, 30, 82.

7/6/2024    
Taxonomy

Order

Hemiptera (true bugs, hoppers, aphids, and allies)

Suborder

Sternorrhyncha (plant-parasitic hemipterans)

Infraorder

Aphidomorpha (aphids and allies)

Superfamily

Aphidoidea

Family

Aphididae (aphids)

   

Until recently, the subfamily Eriosomatinae was placed in the family Eriosomatidae (=Pemphigidae). In 2008 it was transferred to the family Aphididae. The former family is no longer considered valid.

   

Subordinate Taxa

Tribe Eriosomatini

Tribe Fordini ?

Tribe Pemphigini

   

Synonyms

 

   

Common Names

woolly aphids

woolly aphids and gall-making aphids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Gall

An abnormal growth on a plant produced in response to an insect larva, mite, bacteria, or fungus.

 

Tarsus

On insects, the last two to five subdivisions of the leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. On spiders, the last segment of the leg. Plural: tarsi.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mike S

woolly aphid (Subfamily Eriosomatinae)  

 

landed on my drinking glass on the back deck.

 

 

Desara G

woolly aphid (Subfamily Eriosomatinae)   woolly aphid (Subfamily Eriosomatinae)
     
woolly aphid (Subfamily Eriosomatinae)   woolly aphid (Subfamily Eriosomatinae)

Greg Watson

woolly aphid (Subfamily Eriosomatinae)  

 

When I first saw the Wooly Aphid, it was flying and kind of looked like a piece of dryer lint floating!

 

 

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Other Videos

The white garden fairy's are out to play today.
TheEmptyNester

About

Jun 18, 2015

I have no clue yet what these are. But they do look like mini fairy's. Some form of moth. Please let me know if you know what they are.

Update: They are Eriosomatinae (Woolly aphids)

Woolly aphids are sucking insects that live on plant fluids and produce a filamentous waxy white covering which resembles cotton or wool. The adults are winged and move to new locations where they lay egg masses. (Wikipedia)

Woolly Aphid (Aphididae, Eriosomatinae) communal threat display
Morgan Jackson

About

Sep 30, 2013

When threatened (in this case by us flicking the branch they were feeding on), woolly aphid nymphs wave their abdomens and the waxy protuberances they produce back and forth. These aphids are feeding on American Beech (Fagus grandifolia), and are likely nymphs of Grylloprociphilus imbricator, the Beech Blight Aphid (http://bugguide.net/node/view/240499).

Sorry Miley, but insects have been twerking for millions of years!

More info on dancing woolly aphids by Becca Crew on her Scientific American Running Ponies - http://bit.ly/Rl936H

License
Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)

What are the white fuzzies flying around and the sticky stuff on your car? Woolly Aphid
NewsChannel 5

About

Sep 21, 2017

Amy Dismukes tackles the questions: what are the white fuzzies flying around and what's the sticky stuff on your car?

Wooly Aphid Movie.avi
IncasOfEmergency

About

Dec 3, 2009

Wooly aphids gettin' down

Woolly Aphids
tandemmatt

About

Apr 25, 2017

AKA Zombie cotton

 

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Visitor Sightings
 

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Be sure to include a location.

Mike S
7/2/2024

Location: St. Peter, MN

landed on my drinking glass on the back deck.

woolly aphid (Subfamily Eriosomatinae)

Kgrudain
5/20/2024

Location: Bristol County, Massachusetts

Flying around porch lights

Desara G
6/12/2023

Location: McDowell County NC

woolly aphid (Subfamily Eriosomatinae)
Greg Watson
7/1/2021

Location: in my backyard in La Crescent, MN

When I first saw the Wooly Aphid, it was flying and kind of looked like a piece of dryer lint floating!

woolly aphid (Subfamily Eriosomatinae)

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Created: 9/1/2021

Last Updated:

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