Nearctaphis

Nearctaphis Shaposhnikov

This is a easily recognized genus for a small but unknown number of species.  As noted by Blackman and Eastop, “most species are poorly known.”

A species of Nearctaphis from Penstemon in the Trinity Mountain range of Idaho. This keys to Nearctaphis bakeri, but was present on Penstemon far too early in the season to be that species, which is heteroeceous. Spring was just starting at this site, and the Penstemon was just beginning to grow and was far from blooming.

A species of Nearctaphis from Penstemon in the Trinity Mountain range of Idaho. This keys to Nearctaphis bakeri, but was present on Penstemon far too early in the season to be that species, which is heteroeceous. Spring was just starting at this site, and the Penstemon was just beginning to grow and was far from blooming.

Another case of understatement.  In my collection I somewhat confidently identify two species, and all the others I have turned to separation based on “morphospecies” without assigning published names.  Without extensive further work, this is one of those genera where writing a species name on a slide is little more than misleading.  I have been avidly collecting Nearctaphis for over 20 years, and will continue to do so.  Perhaps if I live another 30 years, there will be enough material to revise the genus (maybe sooner for someone smarter than me).

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Nearctaphis bakeri (Cowen)

This is a very common species that has become a pest of cultivated Trifolium.  I collect it frequently on its Rosaceae primary hosts, especially on ornamental Pyrus and various Crataegus.  On secondary hosts, I find it on a range of Trifolium (Fabaceae) species and Penstemon (Plantaginaceae).  It is widespread in North America, and I have material identified as this species from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Wisconsin, and New York.

Nearctaphis bakeri fundatrix on ornamental Pyrus in our Idaho garden.

Nearctaphis bakeri fundatrix on ornamental Pyrus in our Idaho garden.

Nearctaphis bakeri alate vivipara on ornamental Pyrus in our Idaho garden.

Nearctaphis bakeri alate vivipara on ornamental Pyrus in our Idaho garden.

Nearctaphis (Amelanchieria) sensoriata (Gillette & Bragg)

This is the Nearctaphis that I find most commonly, probably because it is abundant and very apparent on its Amelanchier (Rosaceae) hosts in the spring and fall.  As noted by others, it is probably heteroeceous, but I have yet to find a secondary host for it.  Most likely such a host would be Fabaceae, and probably the roots or underground stems.  I am not as adept at collecting underground aphids as I could be….  I have material from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, California, Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico.

Nearctaphis (Amelanchieria) sensoriata aptera and nymphs from Amelanchier in the forests of central Oregon.

Nearctaphis (Amelanchieria) sensoriata aptera and nymphs from Amelanchier in the forests of central Oregon.

Nearctaphis (Amelanchieria) sensoriata alate vivipara from Amelanchier in central Oregon.

Nearctaphis (Amelanchieria) sensoriata alate vivipara from Amelanchier in central Oregon.