Dysaphis plantaginea

Dysaphis plantaginea (Passerini)

Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Hemimetabola, Hemiptera, Sternorrhyncha, Aphidoidea, Aphididae.

Common name: Rosy apple aphid.

Geographical distribution: The Mediterranean Basin, Europe, Central Asia and North America. CIE Map #429, 1981.

Host plants: Apple and plantain (Plantago lanceolate Linnaeus and Plantago major Linnaeus).

Morphology: The bodies of the nymphs are pink, becoming darker as they mature. The apterous and alate females are grey-brown to black, with fluffy wax, the siphunculi and cauda are black; body length 1.8-2.5 mm.

Life cycle: During spring the aphid initially attacks apple sprouts and raises 4-7 generations by viviparous parthenogenesis. In summer the pest leaves this host, probably staying and reproducing on plantain till autumn, as in Egypt and Europe. In winter the aphid returns to apple, whereon it mates and reproduces by viviparity. The threshold of development was caculaterd to be at 4.5ºC and its highest fecundity, 134 progeny/female, was at 15ºC, producing only 37 at 26ºC.

Economic importance: This aphid is a key pest of apple in western European orchards, affecting 50% of the crop or more. Infestations by even small numbers are rapidly injurious, as their feeding and the injected toxins cause longitudinal leaf curling, wilting and disruptions of tree growth, especially of the “Golden” cultivars. Many small and malformed fruits, even if not in direct touch with the aphid, remain attached. In addition, the leaves and fruit may be covered by honeydew and subsequently contaminated by sootymold, further reducing their market value. Various ants that collect the honeydew often accompany and protect the aphids.


Monitoring: Overwintering aphid populations, which occur in spots, are to be monitored as soon as buds begin to emerge, in early spring. Special attention should be paid to the early-growing adventitious apple branches.

Horticultural control: The physical destruction of ant nests can reduce pest numbers by encouraging the natural enemies. Covering apple plots with codling moth exclusion nets reduced the duration of aphid infestations by 7 to 10 days, as well as reducing the abundance of ants in pest colonies.

Plant resistance: Some apple varieties express resistance to the pest by hypersensitivity or by tolerance, especially early in the season. Aphids feeding on such trees develop slower, fail to reproduce and die earlier and quicker.

Chemical control: This aphid may be controlled with systemics if they are aimed at its infestation foci, early in the season. Applications of kaolin dust significantly reduced pest numbers, but not to below their economic injury level.

Biological control: The rosy apple aphid has several natural enemies but due to the rapid increases in pest populations during spring, their combined effect may not suffice to prevent economic damage to apples. The enemies do, however, reduce the pest populations. Most enemies are predators. Syrphidae often arrive first and are considered to be the most efficient. Others include Cecidomyiidae, Coccinellidae, Miridae and earwigs. Parasitoids include the Aphidiidae Lysiphlebus testaceipes (Cresson) and Ephedrus persicae Froggatt. The effect of the natural enemies of D. plantaginea has not been much studied in the Middle East.


Angeli, G. and Simoni, S. 2006. Apple cultivars acceptance by Dysaphis plantaginea Passerini (Homoptera: Aphididae). Journal of Pest Science 79: 175–179.

Aslan, B. and Karaca, I. 2005. Fruit tree aphids and their natural enemies in Isparta region,Turkey. Journal of Pest Science 78: 227–229.

Burgel, K., Daniel, C. and Wyss, E. 2005. Effects of autumn kaolin treatments on the rosy apple aphid, Dysaphis plantaginea (Pass.) and possible modes of action. Journal of Applied Entomology 129: 311–314.

Blommers, L.H.M., Helsen,H.H.M. and Vaal, F.W.N.M. 2004. Life history data of the rosy apple aphid Dysaphis plantaginea (Pass.) (Homopt., Aphididae) on plantain and as migrant to apple. _ Journal of Pest Science_ 77: 155-163.

Brown, M.W. and Mathews, C.R. 2007. Conservation biological control of rosy apple aphid, Dysaphis plantaginea (Passerini), in eastern North America. Environmental Entomology 36: 1131–1139.

Deberardinis, E, Baronio, P. and Baumgartner, J. 1994. The effect of aphid (Dysaphis plantaginea Pass., Hom., Aphididae) feeding on apple fruit growth. Ecological Modelling 72: 115-127.

Dib, H., Simon, S., Sauphanor, B. and Capowiez, Y. 2010. The role of natural enemies on the population dynamics of the rosy apple aphid, Dysaphis plantaginea Passerini (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in organic apple orchards in south-eastern France. Biological Control 55: 97-109.

Dib, H., Sauphanor, B. and Capowiez, Y. 2010. Effect of codling moth exclusion nets on the rosy apple aphid, Dysaphis plantaginea, and its control by natural enemies. Crop Protection 29: 1502-1513.

Graf, B., Baumgärtner, J. and Delucchi, V. 1985. Life table statistics of 3 apple aphids, Dysaphis plantaginea, Rhopalosiphum insertum and Aphis pomi (Homoptera: Aphididae), at constant temperatures. Journal of Applied Entomology 99: 285-294.

Lyth, M. 1985. Hypersensitivity in apple to feeding by Dysaphis plantaginea effects on aphid biology. Annals of Applied Biology 107: 155-161.

Oppenheim, D. 1994 (ed.). A Guide to Integrated Pome Pest Management in Israel. Israel Ministry of Agriculture, Extension Service (in Hebrew with an English Abstract), pp. 68.

Qubbaj, T., Reineke, A. and Zebitz, C.P.W. 2005. Molecular interactions between rosy apple aphids, Dysaphis plantaginea, and resistant and susceptible cultivars of its primary host Malus domestica. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 115: 145–152.