Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Melon Aphid

Melon Aphids
Phylum : Arthropoda
Class : Insecta
Order : Hemiptera
Superfamily : Aphidoidea
Family : Aphididae
Genus : Aphis
Species : gossypii

Length : 2-3mm

The Melon Aphid also goes by the name Cotton Aphid, and is found in tropical and temperate regions around the world. They are one of literally thousands of Aphid species, tiny sap-sucking insects that can cause huge amounts of crop damage.

Melon Aphids have some strange reproductive habits. During the spring, winged females in certain areas fly over to suitable host plants and give birth to live young through parthenogenesis (development without fertilization). In other areas, females lay eggs after mating. Regardless of their conception, the nymphs take between 4 and 10 days to mature, depending on the overall temperature. Most adults will not grow wings. However, if there is overcrowding or a limited food supply, some Aphids will grow wings in order to fly to newer, more favorable locations.

Melon Aphids can be disastrous to certain plants. Not only do they consume several dozen different plant species, but they are also carrier of a handful of devastating plant viruses. Melon Aphids have many natural predators, including Ladybugs, but they can still be quite tricky to manage. Insecticides can help, but some bugs grow immune. Crop rotation and eradication of infected plants are also methods of Aphid control.

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