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Aphid diversity - Aphis

Aphid diversity - Aphis
Alameda County, California, USA
November 9, 2009
At least three kinds of aphids seem to coexist on this Pittosporum branch. A few look swollen, almost globular. Are they (1) about to lay eggs or (2) being parasitized by wasps that create aphid mummies?

Moved from Aphids.

These all appear to be Aphis. Not sure whether more than one species.

Probably all one species
I believe the bloated ones are at various stages of being mummified by aphidiine braconids.

Three colors
Yes, the big beige ones look like that, but the small ones have three distinct colors: green, black, white. (The surrounding foliage gave the white a green tinge.) On other plants, big black aphids exist together with tiny and medium-size black aphids, so I didn't think the small green and white ones here were juveniles of the black species.

Multicolored species
There are species that can vary considerably in their color at a given life stage, such as the potato aphid:

I don't know how commonly different species of aphids would intermix like this, but I wouldn't say it's impossible. However, my guess here is that this species normally ranges from whitish to green, and the blackish ones are afflicted with parasitoids or some other malady.

I'm not sure
The black ones look perfectly healthy to me. Other plants here have pure infestations of just them, especially red chard.

Today, some other shoots on the same shrub looked like this:

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