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David L. Stern
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taxon links [up-->]Ceratoglyphina [down<--]Hormaphididae Interpreting the tree
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Containing group: Hormaphididae


The Cerataphidini are a group of approximately 80 species of aphids divided into eight genera. The cerataphidine aphids have attracted considerable interest from evolutionary biologists because all species produce sterile defender morphs within their galls. In addition, many species of the genera Ceratovacuna and Pseudoregma produce highly specialized horned soldiers on the secondary host (reviewed in Aoki 1976; Stern and Foster 1996).

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

This phylogeny was constructed on the basis of the results of Stern (1994, 1995) and Fukatsu et al. (1995). Fukatsu et al. group Glyphinaphis with Cerataphis and Tuberaphis on the basis of one morphological character, the presence of yeast-like endosymbionts. However, the results of the molecular phylogenetic study by Stern (1994) support the placement of Glyphinaphis shown here. In addition, further unpublished results of Stern, Aoki and Kurosu support this placement. However, the positions of Glyphinaphis, Cerataphis, and Tuberaphis are still problematical and it is likely that all three genera arose early in the history of the tribe.

The monophyly of Astegopteryx, Pseudoregma, Ceratovacuna, Chaitoregma, and Ceratoglyphina are very strongly supported by the results of Stern (1994, 1995) and Stern, Aoki and Kurosu (unpublished).

Geographic Distribution

The Cerataphidini are unusual among aphids because many of the species live in the Asian tropics, whereas most aphid species are found in the northern temperate regions. Cerataphidine aphids can be found from North-Eastern India through China and Japan. Their northern limit appears to be Korea and northern Japan, and they can be found throughout much of Southeast Asia, through to Java. However, they are apparently rare in Sulawesi and the Phillipines, and presumably in the more easterly islands and Papua-New Guinea.

Host Plants

Primary Host Plants: Species of the genus Styrax (Styracaceae).

Secondary Host Plants: Typically Graminae, Loranthaceae, Palmae, or Zingiberaceae, but some species are also found on the Araceae, Balsaminaceae, Compositae, and Pandanaceae.

The ancestral state is apparently host alternation between trees of Styrax and the secondary host. However, many species have lost either the primary or the secondary host. Loss of the primary host is more common.


Aoki, S. 1987. Evolution of sterile soldiers in aphids. In Animal Societies: Theories and Facts. Y. Itô, J. L. Brown, and J. Kikkawa, eds., pp. 53-65. Tokyo: Japan Sci. Soc. Press.

Stern, D. L. 1994. A phylogenetic analysis of soldier evolution in the aphid family Hormaphididae. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B. 256:203-209.

Stern, D. L. 1995. Phylogenetic evidence that aphids, rather than plants, determine gall morphology. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B. 260:85-89.

Stern, D. L. and W. A. Foster. 1996. The evolution of soldiers in aphids. Biol. Rev. in press.

Fukatsu, T., S. Aoki, U. Kurosu, and H. Ishikawa. 1994. Phylogeny of Cerataphidini aphids revealed by their symbiotic microorganisms and basic structure of their galls: implications for host-symbiont coevolution and evolution of sterile soldier castes. Zoological Sciences 11:613-623.

Title Illustrations
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A colony of Astegopteryx formosana on a bamboo leaf being tended by ants, Taiwan. Photograph copyright © 1995, David L. Stern.

Scientific Name Astegopteryx formosana
Location Taiwan
Comments A colony of Astegopteryx formosana on a bamboo leaf being tended by ants
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License - Version 3.0.
Copyright © 1995 David L. Stern
About This Page

David L. Stern
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to David L. Stern at

Page: Tree of Life Cerataphidini. Authored by David L. Stern. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Stern, David L. 1995. Cerataphidini. Version 01 January 1995 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Cerataphidini/11051/1995.01.01 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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