Hyperomyzus

Hyperomyzus Börner

This is a complicated genus, that I have actually done a lot of field work on.  The species of Hyperomyzus sensu stricto are invasive in North America, living on Sonchus (sowthistle) and Ribes.  The species of Hyperomyzus (Neonasonovia) are mostly Nearctic in origin, living on various Asteraceae and Ribes.  I have collected many samples of the latter subgenus, and have not been able to make heads or tales of the species-level taxonomy.  Concerted research on the material I have might be adequate to resolve the situation — I have simply lacked the time and motivation to sort things out.

Hyperomyzus lactucae on a weedy sowthistle.

Hyperomyzus lactucae on a weedy sowthistle.

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Hyperomyzus pallidus Hille Ris Lambers

When I first read about this species in Hille Ris Lambers’ original description I was new to aphids and was getting up to speed by reading everything about them I could find. In his work he wrote about this species being distinct from Hyperomyzus lactucae (L.), living on the lower leaves of the same Sonchus host plants as H. lactucae. I was amazed and wondered whether Hille Ris Lambers really knew what was going on.

Hyperomyzus pallidus aptera from the lower leaves of a weedy sowthistle in central Washington.

Hyperomyzus pallidus aptera from the lower leaves of a weedy sowthistle in central Washington.

Since then, I have come to understand that ‘Lambers,’ as I call him, was rarely wrong. Here is the aptera of H. pallidus, sure enough living on the lower leaves of the same species of Sonchus on which H. lactucae is commonly found in central Washington. Hyperomyzus pallidus is introduced from Europe and common in North America.