Aphis punicae Passerini
Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Hemimetabola, Hemiptera, Sternorrhyncha, Aphidoidea, Aphididae.
Common name: Pomegranate aphid.
Geographical distribution: Around the Mediterranean to Switzerland, Southern Russia to India.
Host plants: Pomegranate, various ornamentals (Duranta, Plumbago).
Morphology: The body of the apterous female is light green, including the cauda and siphunculi, length of the female body is 1.0-2.0 mm. The head and thorax of alate females are dark, as are the siphunculi, whereas the abdomen and cauda are greenish and body length is 1.4-1.9 mm.
Life cycle: On the evergreen Duranta repens Linnaeus (golden dewdrop) the aphid reproduces by viviparous parthenogenesis throughout the year (autoecious cycle). On the deciduous pomegranate sexual forms occur in winter, mate and the females (the “amphigones”) deposit their eggs in the leaf axils. The aphids that emerge in the following spring reproduce by viviparous parthenogenesis till autumn. The pest has spring and autumn population peaks. The optimal conditions for the aphid, when reared on pomegranate, are between 22.5-25ºC, at which temperatures each female produces aboud 30 progeny. The threshold for development was calculated to be at 11.8ºC.
Economic importance: The feeding of A. punicae causes leaf drop, reductions in pomegranate fruit quality and stunts tree growth. The pest’s honeydew and ensuing sootymold enhance these injuries.
Chemical control: This minor pest is susceptible to organophosphates that can be applied if needed.
Biological control: This aphid is attacked by several endoparasitoids of the families Aphidiidae (of which the most promising is Lysiphlebus fabarum (Marshall)) and by some Aphelinidae.
Bayhan, E., Ölmez-Bayhan, S., Ulusoy, M.R. and Brown, J.K. 2005. Effect of temperature on the biology of Aphis punicae (Passerini) (Homoptera: Aphididae) on pomegranate. Environmental Entomology 34: 22-26.
Mescheloff, E. and Rosen, D. 1990. Biosystematic studies on the Aphidiidae of Israel (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonoidae). 3. The genera Adialytus and Lysiphlebus. Israel Journal of Entomology 24: 35-50.
Swirski, E. and Amitai, S. 1999. Annotated list of aphids (Aphidoidea) in Israel. Israel Journal of Entomology 33: 1-120.