Acyrthosiphon pisum Harr. (pisi Kalt) - Pea Aphid.

Taxonomic position.

Class Insecta, order Homoptera, suborder Aphidinea, superfamily Aphidoidea, family Aphididae, subfamily Aphidinae, tribe Macrosiphini, subtribe Macrosiphina, genus Acyrthosiphon.


Acyrthosiphon pisi Kalt.

Biological group.

Oligophagous pest of leguminous cultures.

Morphology and biology.

Light-green ellipsoid body of apterous female is 5 mm in length. Antenna is lightweight and longer than body length. Legs are also green, only apices of femur, tibia and tarsus are black. Cylindrical siphunculi are green, becoming brown near operculum at apex. The siphunculi are long (1/3 of the body length). Light cone-shaped tail is half as long as siphunculi, with 8-12 hairs. Eyes are red. Winged female has longer antenna, but shorter siphunculi than those in apterous female. Oval eggs are black. Over-wintering takes place during the egg stage on plant parts near roots on perennial grasses. Adults winter in southern regions. Sexual agamous generations are present during the aphid life cycle. Larval period lasts 8-15 days. In the zone of strong harmfulness the hatching of fundatrices larvae is observed in April. The pest feeds at first on perennial leguminous grasses and then on pea and other agricultural crops. The insects prefer the upper part of leaves and stems; they do not form big colonies. Life span of apterous parthenogenetic female is about 30-50 days; their fecundity reaches 70-120 larvae. When the pea plants become rough, aphids remigration takes place from summer reservations to perennial leguminous grasses. Viginoparae appear at the end of September or in October, producing females and males. Eggs are laid on leaves and stem near the root in October and November. Female fecundity varies from 8 to 10 eggs.


The insect is widespread throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, Japan. Within the territory of the former Soviet Union the species occurs widely north to 67°N, in Siberia, Middle Asia, Kazakhstan, the Caucasus, Transcaucasia, and the Far East. It is most harmful in forest, forest-steppe, and steppe zones.


Embryonic development occurs at the temperature 4.5°C. The sum of degree days (air temperature totals) for development of the first generation varies from 108 to 180°C. In the zone of strong harmfulness the intensive settlement of leguminous cultures takes place at the end of May and in June. The maximum numbers of insects occurs at the beginning of June in southern regions, at the end of June and in the beginning of July in northern regions. The most favorable conditions for insects are temperatures of 18-22°C and relative humidity 60-70%. The species is polymorphous, cold-resistant; individuals do not perish at the temperature -6°C. Both green and pink morphs occur. In southern parts of the insect area (Middle Asia, Kazakhstan) large numbers of aphids only appear in irrigated fields. The high harming activity appears after years with moderately warm and damp summers and damp autumns. Within the territory of the former Soviet Union the species produces 10 to 20 generations in a year. Most important predators are insects of the families Coccinelidae (Coccinella septempunctata L., C. notata Host.), Sirphidae (the genera Syrphus, Melanostoma and others) and Chrysopidae (C. carnea Steph.). Most important parasites include representatives of the family Braconidae (the genera Aphidius, Ephedrus).

Economic significance.

The pest causes the greatest damage to pea, lucerne, vetch, clover, and others leguminous grasses. The insect injures more than 100 leguminous cultures. Control measures include due forecasting of the pest appearance and number, eradication of weeds, insecticide treatments at the end of May and in June.

Reference citations:

Berim, M.N. 1985. The features of feeding behavior of pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum Harr. In: Novozhilov, K.V., ed. Resistance of agricultural plants to pests and plant protection problems. Leningrad: VASKNIL, VIZR. p. 70 - 77 (in Russian).
Chmyr, P.G. 1983. The biology of pea aphid in Central Black Earth zone. In: Shurovenkov, Yu.B., ed. Proceedings of VNIIZR. Voronezh: 32-37 (in Russian).
Eremenko, A.P. 1967. About sexual generation of pea aphid. In: Sadykov, A.S., ed. The reports of AN UzSSR 11. Tashkent: Fan. p. 48 (in Russian).
Gorshevikova, O.L. 1971. The dynamics of seasonal pea aphid population on pea in Tatarstan and meteorological conditions. In: Vershinin, A.K., ed. Proceedings of Kazan' agricultural institute 68. Kazan': 116-9 (in Russian).
Grebenshchikova, N.I. 1982. Factors regulating aphids number on pea fields. In: Chernova, N.M., ed. Forming of animal and microbe population in agrocenoses. Moscow: Nauka. P. 89 - 90 (in Russian).
Ivanova, A.N. & Pentyk, I.D. 1976. Bioecological features of pea aphid development in the Central zone of Stavropol' region. In: Lisunov, V.I., ed. Proceedings of Stavropol' agricultural institute 3 (39): 15-20 (in Russian).
Ivanovskaya, O.I. & Kupyanskaya, A.N. 1979. The aphids (Homoptera, Aphididae) damaging trees and bushes in Primorskii Territory. In: Ivliev, L.A., ed. Ecology and biology of arthropods in the southern Far East. Vladivostok: AN SSSR: 44 (in Russian).
Panfilova, A.N. 1975. The pea aphid in Transural. Zashchita rastenii 3: 57 (in Russian).
Posylaeva, G.A. 1988. Ecological features of pea aphid in North- Eastern part of Ukrainian forest-steppe zone. In: Dolin, V.G., ed. Ecology and taxonomy of insects. Kiev: Naukova dumka.pP. 15 - 17 (in Russian).
Talanov, V.P. 1967. The pea aphid in the southern Ukraine. Zashchita rastenii 5: 124 -127 (in Russian).
Talanov, V.P. 1970. Polymorphism of pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisi Kalt.). Vestnik zoologii 3: 79 - 82 (in Russian).
Vengorek, V. 1975. Feed specialization of Acyrthosiphon pisum Harr. In: Novozhilov, K.V., ed. Bulletin of VIZR 32: 37 - 42 (in Russian).
Yakushev, B.S. 1971. To the question about seasonal development of pea aphid in the Saratov region conditions. In: Fedorov N. I., ed. Proceedings of Saratov agricultural institute 6: 20 - 2 (in Russian).
Zil'bermints, I., Kovalenkov V.& Tyurina N. 1989. About increase of pea aphid harmfulness. Agropromyshlennyi kompleks v Tadzhikistane 10: 44 - 6 (in Russian).

© Berim M.N.


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