Aphis pomi

Geographic Range

Aphis pomi, or green apple aphids, are found in Europe, North America, and East Asia. They are thought to have originated in East Asia and spread to other parts of the world through human trade routes. (Alford, 2016; Dixon, 1997; Rakauskas, et al., 2015)


Green apple aphids are terrestrial and live and reproduce primarily on apple trees. They live in forests in temperate and tropical climates. (Baker, 2019; Dixon, 1997)

Physical Description

Green apple aphid eggs are black, about 0.5 mm long, and have an oval shape. Nymphs are yellow green to dark green, with oval-shaped bodies. They are approximately 1.6 mm long and have black cornicles. Adults can be winged or wingless and are about 3 mm in length. Wingless adults have a bright green, oval shaped body with legs and black cornicles. Winged adults have a narrower body, clear wings, a yellow-green abdomen, and a black head and thorax. (Alford, 2016; Alston, et al., 2010; Baker, 2019; Walgenbach, 2015)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike
  • Average length
    3 mm
    0.12 in


The first generation of green apple aphids hatch from an egg as a nymph, which resembles a smaller adult. Nymphs mature into wingless adults through four molts. Successive generations are born live as female nymphs and develop into either winged or wingless adults. In the final generation, males are born and mate with females to produce eggs, which overwinter and hatch in the spring. (Alston, et al., 2010; Baker, 2019; Walgenbach, 2015)


From April through August, green apple aphids reproduce asexually and give live birth to females. From September to October, green apple aphid females give live birth to both males and females. The last generation of females and males mate and produce eggs, which overwinter and hatch in the spring. (de Vos and Jander, 2010; Dixon, 1997; Rakauskas, 1983)

Green apple aphids overwinter as eggs on a host plant. In March or April, the first generation hatches. The first generation and almost all successive generations are female and reproduce asexually. Winged green apple aphids appear in successive generations from May through September. The final generation of the season appears in August through September and consists of males and females and reproduces sexually. The eggs produced by this generation overwinter on a host plant and hatch in the spring. (Baker, 2019; Hahn, 2019; Rakauskas, 1983)

  • Breeding interval
    Mating between males and females occurs once yearly
  • Breeding season
    Early fall or late summer
  • Range eggs per season
    2 to 3
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    7 days

Green apple aphids do not take care of their young. (Alford, 2016)

  • Parental Investment
  • no parental involvement


Green apple aphid adults live for several weeks to about a month. Eggs can survive for several months while they overwinter on a host plant. Because adults can reproduce so rapidly, there is no need for them to live for a long time. Factors that negatively affect the lifespan of adults are insecticides, predators, and parasites. Insecticides are also very harmful to overwintering eggs. (Alston, et al., 2010; Foottit, et al., 2009; Hahn, 2019)

  • Typical lifespan
    Status: wild
    7 to 30 days


Wingless green apple aphids spend their entire lives on a single host tree. This results in large numbers of green apple aphids living on a single tree. Winged adults migrate to a new host plant once they mature. (Baker, 2019; Rakauskas, et al., 2015)

Home Range

All green apple aphids spend most of their life on a single tree. (Baker, 2019)

Communication and Perception

Green apple aphids communicate with others of the same species and with plants through pheromones. They also perceive their environment visually through a pair of compound eyes. In some species of aphid, winged individuals have more developed eyes to help them locate a new host, while males tend to have underdeveloped eyes, though it is not known if this is the case with green apple aphids. (de Vos and Jander, 2010)

Food Habits

Green apple aphids are herbivores and typically feed on the leaves and tender shoots of apple trees (Malus domestica), although they are also sometimes found on other plants in the rose family (Rosaceae), like crabapple (Malus coronaria), hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), firethorn (Pyracantha), pear (Pyrus), loquat (Eriobotrya japonica), mountain ash (Sorbus americana), meadowsweets (Spirea), and quince (Cydonia oblonga). (Alston, et al., 2010; Baker, 2019)

  • Plant Foods
  • leaves
  • wood, bark, or stems
  • fruit


Green apple aphid adults are bright green and camouflaged on leaves. Predators of green apple aphids are ladybugs, lace bugs, and hover flies. (Baker, 2019; Hahn, 2019)

  • Anti-predator Adaptations
  • cryptic

Ecosystem Roles

Green apple aphids are parasitic on trees in the rose family. They have a mutualistic relationship with ants, which them from predators in exchange for honeydew. Aphid parasitoids are parasitic on green apple aphids. Additionally, green apple aphids are prey to ladybugs, lace bugs, and hover flies. (Baker, 2019; Hahn, 2019; Malina, et al., 2010)

Species Used as Host
  • Apples (Malus domestica)
  • Pears (Pyrus)
  • Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
  • Quince (Cydonia oblonga)
  • Mountain ash (Sorbus americana)
  • Meadowsweets (Spiraea)
  • Crabapples (Malus coronaria)
  • Loquats (Eriobotrya japonica)
  • Firethorn (Pyracantha)
Mutualist Species
Commensal/Parasitic Species

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Green apple aphids are used in research on the growth and health of apple trees. (Baker, 2019; Malina, et al., 2010)

  • Positive Impacts
  • research and education

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Green apple aphids feed on apple and pear trees. They mostly feed on the leaves of these trees, but their secretions can cause damage to the fruits. This damage to the fruits of apple and pear trees makes them a threat to the human farmers of these crops. (Alston, et al., 2010; Baker, 2019)

  • Negative Impacts
  • crop pest

Conservation Status

There are no conservation efforts for green apple aphids and they have no special status. (Baker, 2019)

Other Comments

Green apple aphids are sometimes confused with spirea aphids (Aphis spiraecola) because both species are green and are often found on the same types of plants. Spirea aphids might have a larger population in North America than green apple aphids. The most obvious morphological difference between green apple aphids and spirea aphids is that spirea aphid males have wings and green apple aphid males do not. (Foottit, et al., 2009; Halbert and Voegtlin, 1992; Pfeiffer, et al., 1989; Rakauskas, et al., 2015; Walgenbach, 2015)


Avery Gibson (author), Colorado State University, Tanya Dewey (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map


living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.

World Map


living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.


Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.


reproduction that is not sexual; that is, reproduction that does not include recombining the genotypes of two parents

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


used loosely to describe any group of organisms living together or in close proximity to each other - for example nesting shorebirds that live in large colonies. More specifically refers to a group of organisms in which members act as specialized subunits (a continuous, modular society) - as in clonal organisms.


having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.


a period of time when growth or development is suspended in insects and other invertebrates, it can usually only be ended the appropriate environmental stimulus.

  1. active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.

animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature


union of egg and spermatozoan


an animal that mainly eats leaves.


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


an animal that mainly eats fruit


An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.


the state that some animals enter during winter in which normal physiological processes are significantly reduced, thus lowering the animal's energy requirements. The act or condition of passing winter in a torpid or resting state, typically involving the abandonment of homoiothermy in mammals.


referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.


A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.


makes seasonal movements between breeding and wintering grounds


Having one mate at a time.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

World Map


reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.


an organism that obtains nutrients from other organisms in a harmful way that doesn't cause immediate death


development takes place in an unfertilized egg


chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


remains in the same area


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


associates with others of its species; forms social groups.


that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).


Living on the ground.


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.


uses sight to communicate


reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.


Alford, D. 2016. Pests of Fruit Crops: A Colorful Handbook, Second Edition. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Alston, D., M. Reding, M. Murray. 2010. "Apple Aphids" (On-line). Utah Pests Fact Sheet. Accessed February 11, 2023 at https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1663&context=extension_curall.

Baker, J. 2019. "Green Apple Aphid on Ornamentals" (On-line). NC State Extension Publications. Accessed February 11, 2023 at https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/green-apple-aphid-on-ornamentals.

Dixon, A. 1997. Aphid Ecology: An Optimization Approach. New York, NY: Springer Science and Business Media.

Foottit, R., D. Lowery, H. Maw, M. Smirle, G. Lushai. 2009. Identification, distribution, and molecular characterization of the apple aphids Aphis pomi and Aphis spiraecola (Hemiptera: Aphididae: Aphidinae). Canadian Entomologist, 141: 478-485.

Hagley, E., W. Allen. 1990. The Green Apple Aphis, Aphis Pomi DeGeer (Homoptera: Aphididae), as Prey of Polyphagous Arthropod Predators in Ontario. The Canadian Entomologist, Volume 122, Issue 6: 1221-1228. Accessed February 17, 2023 at https://doi.org/10.4039/Ent1221221-11.

Hahn, J. 2019. "Aphis in home yards and gardens" (On-line). University of Minnesota Extension. Accessed February 17, 2023 at https://extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden-insects/aphids#honeydew-316061.

Halbert, S., D. Voegtlin. 1992. Morphological Differentiation Between Aphis Spiraecola and Aphis Pomi (Homoptera: Aphididae). The Great Lakes Entomologist, 25: 1-8.

Malina, R., J. Praslička, J. Schlarmannová. 2010. Developmental rates of the aphid Aphis pomi (Aphidoidea: Aphididae) and its parasitoid Aphidius ervi (Hymenoptera: Aphidiidae). Biologia, 65: 899-902. Accessed April 03, 2023 at https://link.springer.com/article/10.2478/s11756-010-0097-4.

Pfeiffer, D., M. Brown, M. Varn. 1989. Incidence of Spirea Aphid (Homoptera: Apididea) In Apple Orchards in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. Journal of Entomological Science, 24: 145-149. Accessed February 11, 2023 at https://doi.org/10.18474/0749-8004-24.1.145.

Rakauskas, R. 1983. Biology of the Green Apple Aphid in Lithuania. Acta Entomologica Lituanica, 6: 20-30.

Rakauskas, R., J. Basilova, R. Bernotienė. 2015. Aphis pomi and Aphis spiraecola (Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha: Aphididae) in Europe - new information on their distribution, molecular and morphological peculiarities. European Journal of Entomology, 112: 270-280. Accessed February 11, 2023 at 10.14411/eje.2015.043.

Walgenbach, J. 2015. "Green Apple Aphid/Spirea Aphid" (On-line). NC State Extension Publications. Accessed February 11, 2023 at https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/green-apple-aphid-spirea-aphid.

Wunderlich, L., J. Caprile, P. Vossen, L. Varela, J. Grant. 2016. "Green Apple Aphid" (On-line). UCIPM. Accessed February 11, 2023 at https://ipm.ucanr.edu/agriculture/apple/green-apple-aphid/.

de Vos, M., G. Jander. 2010. Volatile Communication in Plant-Aphid Interactions. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, Volume 13, Issue 4: 366-371. Accessed February 22, 2023 at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbi.2010.05.001.