Brevicoryne brassicae (L.) - Cabbage Aphid


Aphis brassicae L., A. raphani Schrk., A. floris rapae Curt.

Systematic position.

Class Insecta, order Homoptera, suborder Aphidinea, superfamily Aphidoidea, family Aphididae, subfamily Aphidinae, tribe Macrosiphini, subtribe Liosomaphidina, genus Brevicoryne.

Biological group.

Oligophagous pest of crucifers.

Morphology and biology.

Body of apterous female is wide, ellipsoid, pale green with waxed cover. Its length varies from 1.8 to 2.3 mm. Head is brown. Antenna (6-segmented) is also brown and shorter than body; legs are also brown. Each segment of body has transverse interrupted brown stripes. Tail is conic, green. Short cylindrical brown siphunculi are swollen in middle. The body of winged female is lengthened, ovoid, to 2 mm in length. Head and thorax are brown; abdomen is green, with transverse stripes and marginal spots on each segment. Oval eggs are black. Overwintering takes place at the stage of egg on residues of cultural plants (lower leaves, cabbage stumps), on seed plants, and on weeds. In Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, overwintering of parthenogenetic females is marked. Hatching of fundatrice larvae is observed in April - May (depending on zone). Data on the Cabbage Aphid biology are contradictory. Some specialists report that the pest feeds on cruciferous weeds at first, then migrate to cultural plants. Other specialists consider the aphids to live on seed plants in considerable numbers after hatching, then migrating to food cabbage or other cultural cruciferous plants. There are materials that the insect can feed only on weeds. Aphids prefer to feed on upper side of lower leaves or on lower side of leaves near the head of cabbage. Insects form big colonies, reaching large numbers on food cabbage in July - August. Parthenogenetic females live 30 days; the fecundity of one female reaches 40 larvae. Larval period lasts 7-12 days. Sexual generation appears in August, then the insects lay wintering eggs. Female lays up to 10 eggs, one by one. Oviposition lasts until the end of October.


Species is spread in Europe, Anterior and Middle Asia, North America, North Africa, Australia, New Zealand. The species occurs widely throughout the territory of the former USSR, except for the Far North.


Spring larvae hatch at the daily average temperature 7-8°C. Under snow covering, the aphid endures temperature of -15°C. The most favorable conditions for insects are 25-26°C and humidity 60-70%. In autumn, the oviposition ceases at the temperatures below 14°C (photophase 13-14 hours). The pest gives 6-30 generations during a year. Most important predators are: Adalia bipunctata L., Coccinella septempunctata L., Ch. carnea Steph., S. corollae F., S. balteatus Deg., S. ribesii L., S. nitens L., Sphaerophoria scripta L., Scaeva pyrastri L., Aphidius cardui Marsh., Aph. brassicae Motsch., Aph. vulgaris Motsch., Pachyneuron aphidis Bouche, Asaphes vulgaris Walk., Charips recticornis Kieff., and others.

Economic significance.

The species is a wide oligophage. It damages cultural and weed cruciferous plants. The pest prefers such cultural plants as cabbage, mustard, radish, rape, turnip; and such weeds as wild radish, bittercress, pennycress, sheperd's purse. Insects feed on both leaves and flowers of seed plants. These plants retard growing. Flowers fall down, not forming fruits. Yellow spots are observed on leaves of food cabbage; these leaves twist and dry up. Plants produce small heads much later. Sticky fecal masses pollute the leaves. Aphids transfer dangerous diseases. At high insect numbers, the yield may decrease by 34-62%. Control measures include eradication of weeds and insecticide treatments in June.

Reference citations:

Adashkevich A. 1967. Cabbage aphid. Kartofel' i ovoshchi 5: 38 (in Russian).
Askaraliev Kh. 1968. Harmfullness of cabbage aphid. Zashchita rastenii 9: 10 (in Russian).
Bogdanov V.V. 1990. Influence of food factor on cabbage aphid dynamics. In: Kapralova O.V., ed. Ecological-genetic investigations on resistance and productivity of population (Proc. of Nizhnii Novgorod University). Nizhnii Novgorod: State University. 91-96 p. (in Russian).
Bogdanov-Kat'kov N.N. 1920. Cabbage aphid. Petrograd: Publishing house of agronomical department. 16 p. (in Russian).
Bozhko M.P. 1976. Aphids of food plants. Khar'kov: Vishcha shkola. 16 p. (in Russian).
Dereza V.K. 1982. Ecology of cabbage aphid in Chu valley. In: Novozhilov K.V., ed. Proceedings of VIZR, N 52. Leningrad: VIZR. 27-35 p. (in Russian).
Fursova M.F. 1965. To biology of cabbage aphid Brevicoryne brassicae (L.) in lower reaches of Murgab. In: Mamedniyazov O.N., ed. Proceedings of AN Turkmen. SSR. N 1. Ashkhabad: AN Turkmen. SSR. 96-97 p. (in Russian).
Gvindzhilia L.M., Chkhikvadze I.G., Zaridze A.L. 1983. Cabbage aphid dynamics in Georgia. In: Gvritishvili M.N., ed. Plant protection against pests (Proc. of Georgian plant protection institute). Tbilisi: Georgian NIIZR. 5-9 p. (in Russian).
Ivanovskaya O.I. 1976. Fauna of aphids on the territory of West Siberia. In: Zolotorenko G.S., ed. Fauna of helminthes and arthropods of Siberia. Novosibirsk: Nauka. P. 175-189 (in Russian).
Kosov V.V. & Polyakov I.Ya., ed. 1958. Forecasting and calculation of pests and diseases on agricultural cultures. Moscow: Agricultural Department. 538-539 p. (in Russian).
Mashek A.A. 1967. Biological features of cabbage aphid (Brevicoryne brassicae L.) in Leningrad region and its harmfulness on seed plants of cabbage. In: Bei-Bienko G.Ya., ed. Plant protection against pests and diseases (Proc. of LSKhI), vol. 3. Leningrad: LSKhI. 52 p. (in Russian).
Migulin A.A., ed. 1983. Agricultural entomology. Moscow: Kolos. 203-205 p. (in Russian).
Nevskii V.P. 1929. Aphids of Middle Asia. Proceedings of Uzbekistan Experimental plant protection station 16. Tashkent: Uzbekistan Experimental plant protection station. 224-227 p. (in Russian).
Pashchenko N.F. 1961. To biology of cabbage aphid (Brevicoryne brassicae L.). In: Kazenas L.D., ed. Proceedings of Kazan' State University, vol. VI. Kazan': Kazan' State University, 209-228 p. (in Russian).
Pashchenko N.F. 1965. Entomophages of cabbage aphid in South-East of Kazakhstan. In: Novozhilov K.V., ed. Proceedings of VIZR, N 9. Leningrad: VIZR. 158 p. (in Russian).
Pikushova E.I. 1969. Harmfulness of cabbage aphid. Zashchita rastenii 1: 33 (in Russian).
Polyakov I.Ya., ed. 1989. Forecasting of pests and diseases on agricultural cultures for 1989. Moscow: VIZR. 170-171 p. (in Russian).
Shaposhnikov G.Kh. 1972. Order Homoptera - homopterous. In: Kryzhanovskii O.L., ed. Insects and mites - pests of agricultural crops. V. 1. Leningrad: Nauka. P. 592 (in Russian).
Shchegolev V.N. 1960. Agricultural entomology. Moscow & Leningrad: GIZ sel'skokhozyaistvennoi literatury, 448 p. (in Russian).
Vasil'ev V.P., ed. 1973. Pests of agricultural crops and forest plantations. V. 1. Kiev: Urozhai. 496 p. (in Russian).
Volkov S.M., Zimin L.S., Rudenko D.K. & Tupenevich S.M. 1955. Atlas of pests and diseases on agricultural cultures in the Non-Black Earth zone of the European part of the USSR. Moscow & Leningrad: Sel'khozgiz. 154 p. (in Russian).
Yanushevskii V.Ya. 1960. Dangerous pest of cabbage. Sel'skoe khozyaistvo Belorussii 7: 13-14 (in Russian).
Yanushevskii V.Ya. 1966. Cabbage aphid (Brevicoryne brassicae L.) in Byelorussian SSR. PhD Thesis. Minsk: State University. 25 p. (in Russian).

© Berim M.N.

Picture of Brevicoryne brassicae L. is borrowed from the "Atlas of the pests and diseases on agricultural cultures in the Non-Black Earth zone of the European part of the USSR" (Volkov S.M. et al., 1955). Copyright is absent.

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