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For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
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Species Aphis nerii - Oleander Aphid

Winged adult Aphis nerii - Aphis nerii Aphids on Milkweed - tended by ants - Aphis nerii Aphis nerii - Oleander Aphid - Aphis nerii Oleander Aphid - Aphis nerii Oleander aphid - Aphis nerii Aphids - Aphis nerii Oleander Aphid - Aphis nerii aphids - Aphis nerii
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies)
Suborder Sternorrhyncha (Plant-parasitic Hemipterans)
Superfamily Aphidoidea
Family Aphididae (Aphids)
Subfamily Aphidinae
Tribe Aphidini
Subtribe Aphidina
Genus Aphis
No Taxon (Subgenus Aphis)
Species nerii (Oleander Aphid)
Other Common Names
Milkweed Aphid
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
=lutescens Monell in Riley & Monell 1879
Explanation of Names
Latin for "of Nerium" (Nerium = oleander)
1.5-2.6 mm
Yellow-orange with black cornicles, legs and antennae. Alates have pigmented thorax. Common on milkweed, oleander.
1. Adult. 2. Winged form. 3 Adults and immatures. 4. Heavy infestation. 5 and 6. Parasitized "mummies"
native to the Mediterranean, now cosmopolitan. Introduced along with its host plant, oleander. It has spread beyond the geographic distribution of this plant to the entire US and Canada.
Fields, gardens
Feed on the sap of plants in the dogbane family, Apocynaceae, including milkweeds (formerly in their own family, the Asclepiadaceae). Best-known hosts: Oleander, Milkweed, and Vinca. Altogether it is known to feed on 16 plant families, such as Crassulaceae, Solanaceae, Asteraceae, Convolvulaceae, and Euphorbiaceae.
Life Cycle
NA populations are parthenogenetic (reproduce without males)
Like the Monarch and related butterflies, these aphids pick up deadly cardiac glycosides from the host plant and deposit them in their bodies. The noxious chemicals also become part of their cornicle secretions (exuded from the tubes on the rear end). Their bright orange color serves as a warning to predators- at best they taste awful, at worst they can kill.
Larvae of lacewings and lady beetles that feed on Aphis nerii may have developmental problems during pupation, and either emerge with deformities (especially of the wings), or fail to emerge at all.
They are also attacked by syrphid flies and parasitic wasps.
They have been implicated in the transmission of at least 4 plant viruses.
Print References
Internet References
Fact sheets: U. of Florida,
Works Cited
1.Milkweed, Monarchs and More: A Field Guide to the Invertebrate Community in the Milkweed Patch
Ba Rea, Karen Oberhauser, Michael Quinn. 2003. Bas Relief Publishing Group.
2.Garden Insects of North America : The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs (Princeton Field Guides)
Whitney Cranshaw. 2004. Princeton University Press.