Silky ants turn to aphids for medicine when sick

A small team of biologists and zoologists from Austria, the Netherlands, Germany and Finland has found evidence of silky ants consuming aphids to treat fungal infections. In their study, published in the journal Biology Letters, ...

Aphid salivary protein found to promote virus infection in plants

The risk for pandemic diseases caused by arboviruses is rising as the dispersal rate of their arthropod vectors increases. During probing and feeding of arthropod vectors, vector-borne viruses are delivered into vertebrate/plant ...

New model for analyzing color vision in aphids

Aphids are one of the least welcome garden visitors. These small insects can cause substantial damage in agriculture, but how do they actually choose their host plants? What are the basic mechanisms behind this? Researchers ...

First record of a gall-forming aphid fighting off predator

A researcher reports evidence of a gall-forming aphid defending itself against predators, a first for the species, Mordwilkoja vagabunda. The insects inject saliva into leaf stalks, inducing the plant to form small growths ...

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Aphids, also known as plant lice and in Britain and the Commonwealth as greenflies, blackflies or whiteflies, (not to be confused with "jumping plant lice" or true whiteflies) are small sap sucking insects, and members of the superfamily Aphidoidea. Aphids are among the most destructive insect pests on cultivated plants in temperate regions. The damage they do to plants has made them enemies of farmers and gardeners the world over, but from a zoological standpoint they are a very successful group of organisms. Their success is in part due to the asexual reproduction capability of some species.

About 4,400 species of 10 families are known. Historically, many fewer families were recognised, as most species were included in the family Aphididae. Around 250 species are serious pests for agriculture and forestry as well as an annoyance for gardeners. They vary in length from 1 to 10 millimetres (0.04 to 0.39 in).

Natural enemies include predatory ladybirds, hoverfly larvae, parasitic wasps, aphid midge larvae, crab spiders, lacewings and entomopathogenic fungi like Lecanicillium lecanii and the Entomophthorales.

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