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Genus Cinara - Giant Conifer Aphids

White Pine Aphid - Cinara strobi Giant Conifer Aphid - Cinara Giant Conifer Aphid on a Noble Fir Tree - Cinara Giant Conifer Aphid on a Noble Fir Tree - Cinara aphid on pine - Cinara Bug nymph - Cinara Tick? - Cinara strobi Another weird aphid? - Cinara
Classification
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 Lachninae (Giant Aphids)
Tribe Eulachnini
Genus Cinara (Giant Conifer Aphids)
Numbers
152 spp. in our area(1), ~240 total(2)
Identification
If it's big, and on a conifer, it's probably Cinara. To identify further, it's usually necessary to identify the host plant, and consider the geographic range of different species.
Range
The genus is widespread, but individual species are often limited by the range of their hosts.
Habitat
Given their host preferences, usually in coniferous forests. Some species, however, feed on junipers and pinyon pines found in drier, more open habitats.
Food
Feeds on the sap of conifers. Many species are very specific as to host plant.
Remarks
Tends to form colonies on individual trees. They secrete honeydew, which is eaten by ants and wasps and provides the substrate for sooty mold fungus. May cause some stunting or even death on small or already-stressed hosts, but generally not a serious threat.
They are, however, a problem for Christmas tree growers: customers don't like large, conspicuous aphids in their homes, especially since they tend to abandon the tree as it starts to dry out.
Internet References