Diuraphis noxia Mordvilko - Russian Wheat Aphid

Systematic position.

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


Brachycolus noxia Mordvilko

Biological group.

Oligophagous pests.

Morphology and biology.

The yellow-green fusiform body of apterous female has wax pollination, its length varies from 1.5 to 2.5 mm. The antenna (consisting of 6 segments) is one third the body length. Siphunculi are short, the fingerlike tail is long. The abdominal tergite VIII has a tail-like process (half as long as tail length). The head and the antenna of winged female are black, and its abdomen is light green. The oval eggs are black. The aphid vital cycle includes one host-plant. The overwintering takes place during the stage of eggs on young winter cereals. The sexual agamous generations are present during the aphid vital cycle. The larval period lasts 8-10 days; it has four instars. The daily fecundity of apterous female varies from 2 to 5 larvae, and that of the winged female is from 1 to 3 larvae. In the zone of strong damage the hatching of fundatrices larvae is observed at the end of March and the beginning of April. The pest feeds on winter cereals at first. At the end of May the insects migrate from winter cereals to spring corn. When the plants become rough, the aphids. migrations take place back from summer reservations to winter cereals. At the end of October and the beginning of November the sexual generation appears. The females lay eggs (8-10) on young winter cereals. The eggs are laid on upper side of leaves along main vein. Then (in 2-3 days) the females die.


The insect is spread throughout West, Central and South Europe, Anterior and Central Asia, North and South America, North and South Africa. Within the territory of the Former Soviet Union the species occurs in the European part northward to Moscow; it is spread throughout the Ukraine (especially in south-western regions), Moldova, Crimea, the Caucasus, Transcaucasia, Middle Asia, Kazakhstan, and West Siberia. Its high harming activity appears in the most parts of these territories.


After egg stage the insects live openly, they feed on lower side of leaves and form big colonies. When the fundatrices become adult, they crawl into leaf sheath and live latently. The leaves demonstrate a characteristic damage, they turn and twist into pipe (insect development occurs in this pipe). The ear sticks and cannot go out because of the pressure due to twisting leaf. Maximum aphid numbers are observed in June. During high temperatures the depression of insect development occurs. At the end of September the number of aphids increases quickly because the temperatures decrease. The most favorable conditions for the species are air temperatures of +28-30°C and relative humidity 55-60%. The wintering stage is not cold-resistant. 100% mortality of eggs takes place with winter temperatures of -30°C; it also takes place with the number of days with snow cover being more than 40 during a winter. Within the territory of the Former Soviet Union the species produces 18 generations in a year. Most important predators are insects of the families Coccinellidae (Coccinella septempunctata L., C. notata Host., also representatives of the genera Adalia, Semiadalia, Adonia etc.), Syrphidae (the genera Syrphus, Melanostoma, Scaeva, Eupeodes, Paragus), Chrysopidae (C. carnea Steph., C. formosa Br.). Most important parasites are representatives of the family Braconidae (the genera Aphidius, Lysiphlebus, Ephedrus).

Economic significance.

The species prefers wheat rather than barley. The pest also damages rye and oats. The aphid feeds on 47 wild grasses. It occurs most often on Agropyrum repens P.B., Dactylis glomerata L., Bromus mallis L., B. intermis L., B. rubens L., Festuca rubra L., F. pratensis Huds., Elymus angustus P. Control measures include timely forecasting the pest appearance and number, eradication of weeds, insecticide treatments at the end of May and in June.

Related references:

Aalbersberg, Y.K. 1988. Natural enemies and their impact on Diuraphis noxia (Mordvilko) (Hemiptera: Aphididae) populations. Bulletin of Entomological Research 78(1): 121-111.
Aalbersberg, Y.K.& Du Toit, F. 1987. Development rate fecundity and life span of apterae of the Russian wheat aphid Diuraphis noxia (Mordvilko) (Hemiptera: Aphididae), under controlled conditions. Bulletin of Entomological Research 74(4): 629-37.
Aalbersberg, Y.K., Van der Westhuizen, M.C. & Hewitt, P.H. 1989. Characteristics of the population build -up of the Russian wheat aphid Diuraphis noxia and the effect on wheat yield in the eastern Orange Free State. Annals of Applied Biology 114(2): 231-42.
Abashidze, A.T. 1956. The biology of Russian wheat aphid (Cuernavaca noxius Mordv.) and contemporary control measurements. In: Abashidze A., ed. The proceedings of plant protection institute 11. Tbilisi: 85-9 (in Russian).
Armstrong, J.S. & Peairs, F.B. 1996. Environmental parameters related to winter mortality of the Russian wheat aphid ( Homoptera: Aphididae): basis for predicting mortality. Journal of Economic Entomology 89(5): 1281-87.
Basky, Z. & Jordan, J. 1997. Comparison of the development and fecundity of Russian wheat aphid (Homoptera: Aphididae) in South Africa and Hungary. Journal of Economic Entomology 90(2): 623-8.
Butts, R.A., Thomas, J.B., Lukow, O. & Hill, B.D. 1997. Effect of fall infestations of Russian wheat aphid (Homoptera: Aphididae) on winter wheat yield and quality on the Canadian Prairies. Journal of Economic Entomology 90(4): 1005-9.
De Farias, A.M.I., Hopper, K.R. & Leclant, F. 1995. Damage symptoms and abundance of Diuraphis noxia (Homoptera: Aphididae) for wheat cultivars at three irrigation levels. Journal of Economic Entomology 88 (1): 169-74.
Donahue, J.D., Brewer, M.J. & Burd, J.D. 2000. Relative suitability of crested wheat grass and other perennial grass hosts for the Russian wheat aphid (Homoptera: Aphididae). Journal of Economic Entomology 93(2): 323-31.
Girma, M., Wilde, G. & Reese, I.C. 1990. Influence of temperature and plant growth stage on development, reproduction, life span, and intrinsic rate of increase of the Russian wheat aphid (Homoptera: Aphididae). Environmental Entomology 19 (5): 1438-43.
Hill, B.D., Butts, R.A. & Schaalje, G.B. 1995. Mode of contract of chlorpyrifos with Russian wheat aphid (Homoptera: Aphididae) in wheat. Journal of Economic Entomology 88 (3): 725-34.
Ivanovskaya, O.I. 1977. Aphids of West Siberia. Part II. Novosibirsk: Nauka. P. 34-5 (in Russian).
Kindler, S.D. & Springer, T.L. 1989. Alternate hosts of Russian wheat aphid (Homoptera: Aphididae). Journal of Economic Entomology 82 (5):1358-63.
Mamontova, V.A. 1953. The aphids on agricultural crops of rightbank forest-steppe zone of Ukraine. In: Belanovskii I.D., ed. The proceedings of Zoological institute of AS UkrSSR. Kiev: AN UkrSSR. P. 62-3 (in Russian).
Nevskii, V.P. 1929. The aphids of Middle Asia. In: The proceedings of Uzbekistan Experimental plant protection station 16. Tashkent: p. 76 (in Russian).
Shaposhnikov, G.Kh. 1964. Suborder Aphidinea - aphids. In: Bei-Bienko G.Ya., ed. The keys to insects of the European part of the USSR. V. 1. Moscow & Leningrad: Nauka. P. 489-616 (in Russian).
Star'y, P. 1996. Life-cycle and further evidence of distribution of the Russian wheat aphid Diuraphis noxia (Mordv.) in the Czech Republic. Ochrana rostlin. Plant Protection 32 (1): 27-33.
Stoetzel, M.B.1987. Information and identification of Diuraphis noxia (Homoptera: Aphididae) and other aphid species colonizing leaves of wheat and barley in the United States. Journal of Economic Entomology 80 (3): 696-705.
Vasil'ev, V.P., ed. 1973. The pests of agricultural crops and forest plantations 1. Kiev: Urozhai. P.274-5 (in Russian).

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