Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 21, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The Aphididae (Insecta: Homoptera) are an economically important group of insects. Aphids are plant feeders and extract plant fluids through narrow tube-like mouthparts. While the mechanical damage can reduce plant vigor, some aphids can also serve as vectors of several plant viruses that damage plants. A byproduct of aphid feeding, known as "honeydew", can also be problematic. Honeydew is high in plant sugars, collects on adjacent leaves, and in turn serves as a medium for saprophytic fungi. These fungi grow on the leaf surface and reduce the photosynthetic properties and overall virgor of the plant. If honeydew collects on immature fruit, it may cause fruit splitting as the fruit matures. The resulting damage reduces the fruit's marketability or renders it entirely unmarketable. In North America, 11 species of aphids have been determined to feed on peach and an additional species not known from North America, offers a potential pest problem on peaches. The present paper provides descriptions and keys for species determination. While some species of aphids are able to transmit several viruses damaging to peaches, not all aphid species are known as vectors. This work provides a means of distinguishing aphid vectors of peach viruses. This paper will be helpful for growers, hobbyists, extension workers, and taxonomists for identifying aphids on peaches.
Eleven aphid species known to colonize peaches in the United States and one species not known from the United States are described and illustrated. A brief summary of taxonomic characters, usual hosts, and distribution within the United States are given for each species. Pictorial and dichotomous keys are included to aid personnel charged with detection, identification, and control of aphids associated with peaches in the United States.