Compiler and date details
18 November 2005 - David Hollis & Victor F. Eastop, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, UK
Aphids are well known as 'greenfly' damaging vegetables and cereals by removal of sap, sometimes injecting toxic saliva, and by transmission of virus diseases. This reputation is based mostly on one subfamily, the Aphidinae, with numerous species in the Northern Hemisphere. All the major groups of aphids are associated with woody plants, and most members of most subfamilies live on trees or shrubs. Many of the pests belonging to the Aphidinae overwinter as eggs produced by the sexual generation on trees. Aphid life cycles typically consists of a sexual generation producing an overwintering egg followed by an indefinite number of parthenogenetic generations. The cycle is mostly annual, but at least two subfamilies have biennial cycles, spending alternate winters as parthenogenetic females. The lifecycle is clearly adapted to a temperate climate with alternating seasons.
Of the three families two, the Adelgidae and Phylloxeridae are entirely Northern Hemisphere in origin as are most species of Aphididae, but this is because of several subfamilies with numerous mostly northern species. A number of smaller subfamilies have a tropical and Southern Hemisphere distribution. Gall formation occurs in all three families, is the norm in Adelgidae and Phylloxeridae and in two large and one small subfamily of Aphididae. The principal parasitoids of all the major subfamilies of Aphididae, the braconid subfamily Aphidiinae have as closest relatives two Southern Hemisphere braconid subfamilies associated with plant galls. Aphidiinae are not known from Adelgidae or Phylloxeridae, perhaps indicating that the precursors of the Adelgidae and Phylloxeridae were in what was to become the Northern Hemisphere while the precursors of the Aphididae were in what was to become the Southern Hemisphere, and only later colonising the herbaceous flora of the north.
About 5,000 species (with about 2,500 synonyms) of Aphidoidea are known, of which 50 species are Adelgidae and 75 are Phylloxeridae. Eastop (1966) provided keys to the 119 species of Aphidoidea then known from Australia. Currently about 150 are known to occur, or have occurred, here.
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