Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 132–138 | Cite as

Soldier caste with morphological and reproductive division in the aphid tribe Nipponaphidini

Research article


We investigated demographic, morphological and histological aspects of Distylaphis foliorum, a gall-forming nipponaphidine aphid from Java, Indonesia, whose first instar nymphs had been reported to have enlarged forelegs and attack other insects. The gall inhabitants of D. foliorum consisted of two discrete populations; one developing normally and the other remaining at the first instar. Morphometric analysis identified two types of first instar nymphs; nymphs with relatively long forelegs and slender abdomen, and nymphs with relatively short forelegs and fat abdomen. The former nymphs were found from both young galls and mature galls, while the latter nymphs were from young galls only. Histological analysis strongly suggested a reproductive division in the first instar. In the former nymphs from mature galls, ovaries and mycetomes were degenerate and replaced by well-developed fat body cells. These results indicated that D. foliorum has a morphologically differentiated sterile soldier caste in the first instar. This study is the first report of a soldier caste with morphological and reproductive division in the aphid tribe Nipponaphidini, and suggests that highly specialized soldier castes have evolved at least four times in aphids.

Key words.

Distylaphis foliorum social aphid sterile soldier caste evolution Nipponaphidini 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Biological Resources and FunctionsNational Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)TsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Research and Development Centre for BiologyIndonesian Institute of SciencesBogorIndonesia
  3. 3.Graduate School of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan

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