Explanation of Names
Aphis nerii Boyer de Fonscolombe 1841
nerii "of Nerium, i.e. oleander"
Yellow-orange with black cornicles, legs and antennae. Alates have pigmented thorax.
1. Adult. 2. Winged form. 3 Adults and immatures. 4. Heavy infestation. 5 and 6. Parasitized "mummies"
native to the Mediterranean, now cosmopolitan, introduced to NA with its host, Nerium oleander, now widespread
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.
Broad specialist with >50 hosts across many genera and feeds in highly aggregated populations (Züst & Agrawal 2016
NA populations are parthenogenetic
Aphis nerii pick up deadly cardiac glycosides from the host plant, deposit them in their bodies, and exuded as part of cornicle secretions. Larvae of lacewings and lady beetles that feed on A. nerii may have problems pupating and emerge with deformities (especially of the wings) or fail to emerge.
They are also attacked by syrphid flies and parasitic wasps.
They have been implicated in the transmission of at least 4 plant viruses.