Wednesday, 3 December 2014

A new species of Fern-feeding Aphid from Thailand.


Aphids are small Hemipteran Insects (True Bugs) that live on plants, draining sap with specialized mouthparts. They can reproduce extremely rapidly as they are capable of reproducing asexually, with females giving birth to young without the need for sex; a sexual phase is usually present, but tends to occur only once per year, with several intermediate generations, this sexual phase tends to be winged, while the asexual phase is not. Most Aphids feed on Angiosperms (Flowering Plants), but about 66 species in 18 genera are known to feed on Ferns. Some of these are Angiosperm-feeding species which target Ferns opportunistically, but most appear to be Fern specialists. The genus Micromyzus comprises about 10 species of Fern-feeding Aphids from Southeast Asia; it is probably closely related to the similar genus Micromyzella which comprises 12 species from southeast Africa, Indonesia and the Phillipines.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 21 November 2014, Ewa Mróz of the Department of Zoology at the University of Silesia, Łukasz Depa and Taksin Artchawakom of the Sakaerat Environmental Research Station and Jacek Gorczyca, also of the Department of Zoology at the University of Silesia, describe a new species of Micromyzus from Sakaerat Environmental Research Station, a small preserve containing dry evergreen forest, dry Dipterocarp tropical forest, bamboo forests, forest plantations and grasslands on the edge or the Khorat Plateau in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, about 300 km northeast of Bangkok.

The new species is described from six apterous (wingless) and two alate (winged) females collected from shoots of the Fern Platycerium coronarium. It is named Micromyzus platycerii, in reference to the host plant. The apterous females are 2.16–2.68 mm in length the alate females are 1.95 and 1.97 mm in length, both are brown in colour.

Microscopic slide of apterous viviparous female of Micromyzus platycerii. Mróz et al. (2014).

Microscopic slide of alate viviparous female of Micromyzus platycerii. Mróz et al. (2014).

See also…

Leafhoppers are small members of the True Bug order Hemiptera, closely related to Cicadas. They are typically small and inconspicuous as individuals, seldom more than a few millimetres in length, but in large numbers...


 Froghoppers (Cercopoidea) are small members of the True Bug order (Hemiptera), related to Cicadas (Cicadoidea), Leafhoppers and Treehoppers...

Cicadas (Cicadoidea) are large members...
 
 
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