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Totara aphid - Neophyllaphis totarae

By N A Martin (2018)

Classification

Phylum:
Arthropoda
Class:
Insecta
Order:
Hemiptera
Superfamily:
Aphidoidea
Family:
Aphididae
Scientific Name:
Neophyllaphis totarae Cottier, 1953
  • Nymphs of Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of a leaf of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Nymphs of Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of a leaf of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Winged female Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a shoot of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Winged female Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a shoot of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Common Names

Totara aphid
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Taxonomic Notes

The 18 named species of aphids in the genus Neophyllaphis are found on trees and shrubs of Podocarpaceae and Araucariaceae in the southern hemisphere and also in mountains of the tropics with their range extending northward into China and Japan. The subgenus Chileaphis occurs only in South America. Most named species have been found on trees and shrubs in the Genus Podocarpus.

In New Zealand, there is believed to be an unnamed species on Mountain totara, Podocarpus nivalis.

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Biostatus and Distribution

This endemic aphid is found on leaves of endemic species of Podocarpus (Totara). It is found in native ecosystems and on trees in urban areas.

Conservation status: The Totara aphid in found on endemic species of Totara, Podocarpus. It is found on plants in native ecosystems, parks, gardens and street trees.

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Life Stages and Annual Cycle

Totara aphid overwinters as breeding colonies of wingless adult females and nymphs. The females give birth to nymphs. They are usually found in low numbers in dense foliage. High numbers develop on young leaves in the spring and early summer. Winged females occur at this time. The also give birth to live nymphs. Winged males and winged egg laying females were found by W. Cottier in November. The aphids probably continue breeding over the summer and Autumn.

Totara aphids look like typical aphids. The Adult wingless female is about 2.8 mm long. The body is purplish or brown. The brown may be mottled or smudged with purple. The head, 1 pair of antennae and the three pairs of legs are paler. The pair of small cornicles that excrete the honeydew, appear as small raised black rings towards the end of the abdomen. The whole insect is dusted with white or purplish wax. On the underside of the head is the rostrum, that holds the stylets used for feeding. When not in use the rostrum points back between the legs. At the tip of the abdomen is a short projection called the cauda. The winged female is similarly coloured, but has areas of black on the thorax. The appearance of live winged egg laying females and males are not known.

Adult females give live birth to nymphs that look like small wingless adults. The first instar (stage) nymph is pale red-brown. There are four nymphal stages. Nymphs go from one stage to the next by moulting, changing their skin. Older nymphs are darker coloured, similar to the wingless females, but have a pale head and thorax (middle part of the body) and end of the abdomen. The mature nymph moults into the adult. Nymphs that are going to develop into winged adults have pale wing buds.

Feeding and honeydew
Like other Hemiptera, the Totara aphid has sucking mouthparts. The two pairs of long stylets (specially shaped rods) are held in the rostrum. When it wishes to feed, the aphid moves the tip of the rostrum to the surface of the plant. The stylets are then gradually pushed into the plant. One pair of stylets, the maxillae, form two tubes; one through which saliva is injected into the plant and a second through which plants juices are sucked up into the insect. The Totara aphid inserts the stylets into the phloem (the plant vessels for transmitting sap from the leaves to other parts of the plant). The sap has a high volume of water and sugars, more than the insect needs. Excess water and sugar is excreted from the siphuncles and called honeydew.

  • Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a shoot of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae): note the wingless female in the centre of the leaf and another bottom right. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a shoot of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae): note the wingless female in the centre of the leaf and another bottom right. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Winged female Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a shoot of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Winged female Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a shoot of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Winged females of Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a leaf of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Winged females of Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a leaf of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Winged female Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a shoot of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Winged female Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a shoot of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Winged female Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) with what appears to be white wax at the end of the abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Winged female Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) with what appears to be white wax at the end of the abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Nymphs of Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of a leaf of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Nymphs of Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of a leaf of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) and moulted skins on the underside of a leaf of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) and moulted skins on the underside of a leaf of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Nymphs of Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a shoot of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae): note the pale wingbuds on some nymphs. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Nymphs of Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a shoot of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae): note the pale wingbuds on some nymphs. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of a leaves of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of a leaves of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of leaves of Hall’s totara, Podocarpus laetus (Podocarpaceae): note how the young leaves have curled. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
    Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of leaves of Hall’s totara, Podocarpus laetus (Podocarpaceae): note how the young leaves have curled. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
  • Wingless female Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a shoot of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Wingless female Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a shoot of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Recognition

Normally aphids require specialist skills for their identification. The Totara aphid is the only species found on species of Totara, Podaocarpus species, in New Zealand, except for a possible unnamed species of Neophyllaphis on Mountain totara, Podocarpus nivalis.

The aphids are shades of purplish brown, and dusted with whitish or purplish wax powder. Small colonies overwinter in dense foliage. Larger colonies may be found in spring and early summer on young leaves. Where there are dense colonies black sooty moulds may develop on honeydew that covers the upper side of leaves.

  • Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of leaves of Hall’s totara, Podocarpus laetus (Podocarpaceae): note how the young leaves have curled. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
    Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of leaves of Hall’s totara, Podocarpus laetus (Podocarpaceae): note how the young leaves have curled. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
  • Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of a leaves of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of a leaves of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Wingless female Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a shoot of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Wingless female Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a shoot of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Nymphs of Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of a leaf of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Nymphs of Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of a leaf of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Nymphs of Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a shoot of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae): note the pale wingbuds on some nymphs. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Nymphs of Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a shoot of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae): note the pale wingbuds on some nymphs. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Winged female Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a shoot of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Winged female Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a shoot of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Winged female Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a shoot of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Winged female Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a shoot of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Winged females of Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a leaf of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Winged females of Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on a leaf of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Sooty mould on old leaves of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae) growing on honeydew from Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
    Sooty mould on old leaves of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae) growing on honeydew from Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
  • Sooty mould on old leaves of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae) growing on honeydew from Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
    Sooty mould on old leaves of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae) growing on honeydew from Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
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Natural Enemies

Several parasitoids and predators of Totara aphids are known in New Zealand, but no fungal pathogen has been recorded.

Parasitoids
One species wasp parasitoid, Totara aphid parasite, Choreopraon totarae (Braconidae) is a primary parasitoid, only known from Totara aphid. The female primary parasitoid lays an egg in the aphid. The wasp larva feeds on the aphid. When it is fully grown it kills the aphid and under the dead aphid’s body it makes a chamber in which it pupates. The brown swollen skin of the aphid remains on top of the pupation chamber. The aphid body may be on its back with legs in the air or normally orientated with its dorsal (upper side) visible. When the adult wasp is ready to emerge it chews a hole in the chamber wall.

The Totara aphid parasitoid is itself parasitised by two hyperparasitoids, Alloxysta victrix (Figitidae) and Dendrocerus carpenteri (Megaspilidae). They may be reared from mummified Totara aphids.

Predators
Several predators have been found in Totara aphid colonies and some observed feeding on aphids. Adults of the mirid, Xiphoides sp. feed on the aphids as well as Totara shoots. The hoverfly larvae may be parasitised by a wasp (Hymenoptera), that kills the Hoverfly after it has pupated. The adult wasp chews a hole in the fly pupa when it is ready to emerge.

Spiders, other predatory insects and birds may also feed on Totara aphids.

Table: Natural enemies of Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae), from Plant-SyNZ database (29 December 2017). The reliability index shows the quality of evidence for the host association (0-10, 10=high quality).
Scientific NameCommon NameClassificationEnemy TypeReliability IndexBiostatus
Alloxysta victrix Westwood, 1833 (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Figitidaeparasitoid10adventive
Choreopraon totarae Mackauer, 2012Totara aphid parasite (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Braconidaeparasitoid10endemic
Dendrocerus carpenteri (Curtis, 1829) (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Megaspilidaeparasitoid10adventive
Drepanacra binocula (Newman, 1838)Australian variable lacewing (Lacewing)Neuroptera: Hemerobiidaepredator10adventive
Micromus tasmaniae (Walker, 1860)Tasmanian lacewing (Lacewing)Neuroptera: Hemerobiidaepredator10adventive
Syrphidae sp. (Fly)Diptera: Syrphidaeomnivore5unknown
Xiphoides sp. (Sucking bug)Hemiptera: Miridaepredator7endemic
  • Pupation chamber of Totara aphid parasite, Choreopraon totarae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) under a mumified Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of a leaf of Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Pupation chamber of Totara aphid parasite, Choreopraon totarae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) under a mumified Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of a leaf of Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Pupation chamber of Totara aphid parasite, Choreopraon totarae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) under a mumified Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of a leaf of Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Pupation chamber of Totara aphid parasite, Choreopraon totarae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) under a mumified Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of a leaf of Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Mumified Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) over the pupation chamber of Totara aphid parasite, Choreopraon totarae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) on the underside of a leaf of Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae): note the Totara aphid nymph. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Mumified Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) over the pupation chamber of Totara aphid parasite, Choreopraon totarae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) on the underside of a leaf of Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae): note the Totara aphid nymph. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Mumified Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) over the pupation chamber of Totara aphid parasite, Choreopraon totarae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) on the underside of a leaf of Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Mumified Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) over the pupation chamber of Totara aphid parasite, Choreopraon totarae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) on the underside of a leaf of Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Two images of an adult female Totara aphid parasite, Choreopraon totarae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Two images of an adult female Totara aphid parasite, Choreopraon totarae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult male Totara aphid parasite, Choreopraon totarae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult male Totara aphid parasite, Choreopraon totarae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult male Totara aphid parasite, Choreopraon totarae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult male Totara aphid parasite, Choreopraon totarae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Larva of a Tasmanian lacewing, Micromus tasmaniae (Neuroptera: Hemerobiidae) that had been feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Larva of a Tasmanian lacewing, Micromus tasmaniae (Neuroptera: Hemerobiidae) that had been feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Larva of Tasmanian lacewing, Micromus tasmaniae (Neuroptera: Hemerobiidae) feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
    Larva of Tasmanian lacewing, Micromus tasmaniae (Neuroptera: Hemerobiidae) feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
  • Larva of a Tasmanian lacewing, Micromus tasmaniae (Neuroptera: Hemerobiidae) that had been feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Larva of a Tasmanian lacewing, Micromus tasmaniae (Neuroptera: Hemerobiidae) that had been feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Side view of a larva of a Tasmanian lacewing, Micromus tasmaniae (Neuroptera: Hemerobiidae) that had been feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Side view of a larva of a Tasmanian lacewing, Micromus tasmaniae (Neuroptera: Hemerobiidae) that had been feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Larva of a Tasmanian lacewing, Micromus tasmaniae (Neuroptera: Hemerobiidae) that had been feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Larva of a Tasmanian lacewing, Micromus tasmaniae (Neuroptera: Hemerobiidae) that had been feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  •  Two larvae of Hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) that had been feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Two larvae of Hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) that had been feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Larvae of a Hoverfly (Diptera: Syrphidae) that had been feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Larvae of a Hoverfly (Diptera: Syrphidae) that had been feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Side view of a larvae of a Hoverfly (Diptera: Syrphidae) that had been feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Side view of a larvae of a Hoverfly (Diptera: Syrphidae) that had been feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Side view of a pupa a Hoverfly (Diptera: Syrphidae) that had been feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae): note the exit hole in front made by an adult parasitoid wasp (Hymenoptera). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Side view of a pupa a Hoverfly (Diptera: Syrphidae) that had been feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae): note the exit hole in front made by an adult parasitoid wasp (Hymenoptera). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult parasitoid wasp (Hymenoptera) that had parasitised a hoverfly larva (Diptera: Syrphidae) that was feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Adult parasitoid wasp (Hymenoptera) that had parasitised a hoverfly larva (Diptera: Syrphidae) that was feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Nymph of Xiphoides sp. (Hemiptera: Miridae) on a shoot of Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Nymph of Xiphoides sp. (Hemiptera: Miridae) on a shoot of Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Nymph of Xiphoides sp. (Hemiptera: Miridae) on a shoot of Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae): note the long rostrum. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Nymph of Xiphoides sp. (Hemiptera: Miridae) on a shoot of Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae): note the long rostrum. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Nymph of Xiphoides sp. (Hemiptera: Miridae) on a shoot of Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Nymph of Xiphoides sp. (Hemiptera: Miridae) on a shoot of Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult of Xiphoides sp. (Hemiptera: Miridae) on a shoot of Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult of Xiphoides sp. (Hemiptera: Miridae) on a shoot of Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult of Xiphoides sp. (Hemiptera: Miridae) on a shoot of Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult of Xiphoides sp. (Hemiptera: Miridae) on a shoot of Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult of Xiphoides sp. (Hemiptera: Miridae) on a shoot of Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae): note the rostrum extending back between the legs. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult of Xiphoides sp. (Hemiptera: Miridae) on a shoot of Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae): note the rostrum extending back between the legs. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Host Plants

Totara aphid is found on leaves of Totara, endemic species of Podocarpus. It is found in native ecosystems and on trees in urban areas. Small colonies overwinter in dense foliage. Larger colonies may be found in spring and early summer on young leaves. Where there are dense colonies black sooty moulds may develop on honeydew that covers lower leaves.

Feeding and honeydew
Like other Hemiptera, Totara aphids have sucking mouth parts. The long stylets, special shaped rods, are held in the rostrum. When it wishes to feed the aphid moves the tip of the rostrum to the surface of a leaf or stem. The stylets are then gradually pushed into the plant. The inner pair of stylets, form two tubes, one through which saliva is injected into the plant and a second through which plants juices are sucked up into the insect. Totara aphids insert its stylets into the phloem, the plant vessels for transmitting sap from the leaves to other parts of the plant. The sap has a high volume of water and sugars, more than the insect needs. Aphids excrete the excess water and sugar, which is called honeydew.

Table: Host plants of the Totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) from Plant-SyNZ database (29 December 2017). The reliability score shows the quality of evidence for the host association (1-10, 10=high).
Common Name(s)Scientific NameFamilyReliability IndexBiostatus
Needle-leaved totara, Westland totaraPodocarpus acutifolius KirkPodocarpaceae10endemic
Hall's totara, Mountain totara, Thin barked totara, Tōtara kōtukutukuPodocarpus laetus Hooibr. ex Endl.Podocarpaceae10endemic
Totara, Lowland totara, Amoka, TōtaraPodocarpus totara G. Benn. ex D.DonPodocarpaceae10endemic
Podocarpus totara G. Benn. ex D. Don var. waihoensis WardlePodocarpaceae10endemic
  • Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of leaves of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
    Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of leaves of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
  • Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of leaves of Hall’s totara, Podocarpus laetus (Podocarpaceae): note how the young leaves have curled. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
    Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the underside of leaves of Hall’s totara, Podocarpus laetus (Podocarpaceae): note how the young leaves have curled. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
  • Sooty mould on old leaves of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae) growing on honeydew from Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
    Sooty mould on old leaves of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae) growing on honeydew from Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
  • Sooty mould on old leaves of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae) growing on honeydew from Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
    Sooty mould on old leaves of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae) growing on honeydew from Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
  • Sooty mould on old leaves of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae) growing on honeydew from Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
    Sooty mould on old leaves of Totara, Podocarpus totara (Podocarpaceae) growing on honeydew from Totara aphids, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
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Additional Information

Research Project: Annual cycle of Totara Aphid
Totara aphids and other aphids in the genus Neophyllaphis produce males and egg laying females in the summer. This is unusual behaviour. Little is known about the conditions that stimulate the production of the stages and how long these stages are present. Also it is not known where the eggs are laid.

Totara aphid overwinters as breeding wingless adult females and nymphs. The females give birth to nymphs. They are usually found in low numbers in dense foliage. High numbers develop on young leaves in the spring and early summer. Winged females occur at this time. The also give birth to live nymphs. Winged males and winged egg laying females were found by W. Cottier in November. The aphids probably continue breeding over the summer and Autumn.

Research Project: Production of white wax byTotara Aphids
Most Totara aphids are not coated with white wax. W. Cottier reported that he saw aphids with white wax on them in Palmerston North. I have only seen white wax on Totara aphids at one location in the Waitakere Ranges in the spring. They appeared to be the first spring generation feeding on new leaves. The young trees were young Hall’s totara, Podocarpus laetus.

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Information Sources

Aphids on worlds plants; Neophyllaphis totarae www.aphidsonworldsplants.info/d_APHIDS_N.htm#Neophyllaphis.

Cottier W. 1953. Aphids of New Zealand. N.Z. Department of Scientific and Industrial Research Bulletin. 106: 1-382.

Plant-SyNZ: Invertebrate herbivore-host plant association database. plant-synz.landcareresearch.co.nz/.

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Acknowledgements

Dr Robert Foottit, Canadian National Collection of Insects, Ottawa, Canada, for identification of aphids.

Stephen Thorpe for identification of mirids.

The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited (Plant & Food Research) for permission to use photographs.

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Other Images

  • Underside of an adult parasitoid wasp (Hymenoptera) that had parasitised a hoverfly larva (Diptera: Syrphidae) that was feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of an adult parasitoid wasp (Hymenoptera) that had parasitised a hoverfly larva (Diptera: Syrphidae) that was feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Side view of an adult parasitoid wasp (Hymenoptera) that had parasitised a hoverfly larva (Diptera: Syrphidae) that was feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Side view of an adult parasitoid wasp (Hymenoptera) that had parasitised a hoverfly larva (Diptera: Syrphidae) that was feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult parasitoid wasp (Hymenoptera) that had parasitised a hoverfly larva (Diptera: Syrphidae) that was feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Reserch
    Adult parasitoid wasp (Hymenoptera) that had parasitised a hoverfly larva (Diptera: Syrphidae) that was feeding on totara aphid, Neophyllaphis totarae (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Reserch
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Suggested Citation

Martin NA. 2018. Totara aphid - Neophyllaphis totarae. Interesting Insects and other Invertebrates. New Zealand Arthropod Factsheet Series Number 120. http://nzacfactsheets.landcareresearch.co.nz/Index.html. Date Accessed. ISSN 1179-643X.

Landcare Research       Plant and Food