More woolly aphids
July 23, 2009
I thought you might be interested in seeing some more pics I have of the woolly aphid. I LOVE this creature! In one photo, she looks like a ballerina,
another, she looks like Yodo(sp?) from Star Wars and in the last, she looks like she may be some other stage (larval, pupa?) You can clearly see what appears to be where the “wool” is coming from. It looks like 2 jets streams. I didn’t know they could hop. These frequently hopped about 6 inches
around the cloth they were on. And their eyes! They look and act very similar to leafhoppers.
Thought you’d enjoy seeing them.
Detroit, Michigan suburb
Hi again Hilma,
The life cycles of Aphids can be quite elaborate and complicated with both sexual and asexual reproduction, winged and non-winged generations, and multiple host plants. The wool is actually a waxy substance that is produced by the aphid. We are going to contact Eric Eaton and hopefully he can provide some information on your various images. Here is what BugGuide has to say about one species of Woolly Aphid, the Woolly Apple Aphid: “Usually overwinter on elms and the first generation is spent on that host. In early summer winged forms appear, they migrate to apple, hawthorn and related trees. Later in the season some migrate to elms, where the bisexual generation is produced and over wintering eggs laid. Other individuals migrate from the branches of the apple trees to the roots, where they produce gall-like growths. The root-inhabiting forms may remain there for a year or more, passing through several generations.” Your photos are really stunning. You should also post them to BugGuide.
Sorry to be so late getting back to you….
Ok, the woolly aphid pictures. Actually, only the first image of the winged insect is a woolly aphid. The second picture is of a nymph of a planthopper in the family Acanaloniidae. The third (bottom) image depicts a nymph of a flatid planthopper, family Flatidae. That’s right, three different families of insects! Very nice photos, by the way. Most planthoppers in the Fulgoroidea sprout the waxy filaments and coatings seen in the images here. Obviously, woolly aphids secrete the same kind of waxy substance. It helps to keep the insects from drying out (dessicating), and makes them at least a little more unpalatable to predators.