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Cerataphis orchidearum (Westwood)

Fringed Orchid Aphid
Hosts Distribution Damage Biology Behavior Management Reference


Victoria L. Tenbrink, Research Associate

Arnold H. Hara, Entomologist

Beaumont Research Center

Hilo, Hawaii


Recorded hosts of the fringed orchid aphid include Pritchardia (fan palm) and various Orchidaceae, including vanilla. (Blackman & Eastop, 1984; Zimmerman, 1948).


The fringed orchid aphid lives in the tropics and in European and North American glasshouses (Blackman & Eastop, 1984). Fullaway recorded it in Hawaii as C. lataniae in 1910 (Zimmerman, 1948). One of a large number of accidentally introduced aphids, the fringed orchid aphid is on Oahu, Lanai, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii (R. Heu, unpublished data).


Aphids feed by sucking plant juices. This debilitates the plant and may cause deformed plant parts and loss of leaves. Quarantine problems arise when exporting aphid infested plants or plant parts. Finally, aphids transmit plant viruses. In 1971, Namba and Ishii published a study showing the fringed orchid aphid did not transmit Cymbidium mosaic or Odontoglossum ringspot in Cattleya. These viruses are usually transmitted by mechanical means only. However, the fringed orchid aphid may transmit other virus diseases.


Young develop inside the mother without male fertilization (Blackman & Eastop, 1984). Ants, including the bigheaded ant

(Pheidole megacephala Fabricius), tend the fringed orchid aphid. The ants cover the aphids with protective debris (Zimmerman, 1948).


There is no egg stage. Young are born live.


First instar nymphs move about easily (Namba & Ishii, 1971).

Second instar nymphs stay in one place and bear a striking resemblance to whitefly pupae. They are dark reddish brown to black, broadly oval, with a dusting of wax and a distinctive fringe of white wax (Blackman & Eastop, 1984).


Adults are either wingless or winged. Wingless adults are similar to the second instar nymph, reaching 1.6 mm (about 1/16 in.) in diameter. Winged adults are similar to other winged aphids, having 2 pair of veined wings. The cornicles, a pair of small tubes on the dorsal surface of the abdomen, do not protrude but rather look like tiny rings (Blackman & Eastop, 1984).


Newly born nymphs move around searching for a suitable feeding area. After settling, they molt and become sedentary, folding their legs under and secreting a waxy fringe. A final molt results in adults of either the wingless type, which is sedentary, or the winged type. Winged aphids are not strong fliers; they usually float on the wind.


Biological control--Parasitoids

To this date, no parasitoids (parasites that kill their hosts) have been specifically introduced by Hawaii Department of Agriculture to control the fringed orchid aphid.

Biological control--Predators

Biological control experts from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture have introduced ladybird beetles, also called ladybugs, (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) to the Islands to control insects. Some of these beetles, such as Telsimia nitida (Chapin), are established on the major Islands. The larvae and adults of ladybugs have chewing mouthparts. The beetles are carnivorous, eating soft-bodied insects. They are general feeders and will consume many different species, including aphids.

Mechanical control

Scraping and scrubbing to remove aphids from plants are usually effective mechanical control tactics. Removing aphids is especially important on exported plant materials because of quarantine restrictions.


Consult the University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service.


Blackman, R. L. & V. F. Eastop. 1984. Aphids on the World’s Crops: An Identification and Information Guide. John Wiley & Sons: New York. p. 252.

Namba, R and M. Ishii. 1971. Failure of aphids to transmit the Odontoglossum ringspot and Cymbidium mosaic viruses to orchid plantlets derived from meristem cultures. Phytopathology 61: 582-583.

Zimmerman, E. C. 1948. Insects of Hawaii Vol. 5, Homoptera: Sternorhyncha. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.





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