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Black fly or Black bean aphid (Aphis fabae)


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This aphid is common in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere and in cooler regions of South America, Africa, and the Middle East. It has one of the broadest host ranges, having been recorded from nearly 120 plant families. It is a tiny black insect (adult aphids are up to 2mm long) and are elliptical in shape with a broad, soft body. Colonies can usually be found on the undersides of leaves as well as on soft new shoot tips or buds. These aphids cluster together and are noticeable because of their dark colouring. As they feed, they secrete a sticky, substance known as Honeydew, which drips onto surrounding foliage and often becomes covered in a sticky black mould. In warmer months they can give birth up to five times a day and new colonies are established by producing winged aphids. Black garden ants 'farm' the aphids and 'milk' the sticky honeydew that they produce. Ants will often carry young aphids onto new plants to establish new colonies. Aphid eggs survive over winter to see new colonies hatch as the weather becomes warmer. Picture taken at Maulden Churchyard on 21th July 2011.

6th Apr 2013 by Diane Earl

Biology, Environmental Science

Key Stages:
Foundation, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4+

Geocode: Maulden Churchyard
Date of artefact: 21th July 2011

insect fly invertebrate

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