‘Twas the week before Christmas and what did I see, Giant bark aphids on a leafless beech tree.
Aphids are not known for their very large size, But these babes on beech trees win the “big-aphid” prize.
These serious sap-suckers spent several past weeks Sipping plant sap from branches through very long beaks.
Aphid moms suck sweet phloem by night and by day, And transform it to nymphs - born alive, by the way.
These strange spawning efforts are quite something to see, Bug geeks call this birth-trick viviparity.
In the waning of fall, cold winds start to blow And these gals change their plan. They just seem to know.
No more birthing youngsters on twigs in the cold, They lay eggs on branches, many thousand all told.
Tiny black eggs seem to be a perfect life stage To brave wicked winter when vicious storms rage.
And if aphids can hope, their fondest hope must be That no predators find these eggs on the tree.
Fear not giant aphids, be glad and be happy In spring eggs will hatch when trees get all sappy.
Happy Holidays from Bug of the Week!
Bug of the Week extends apologies to Clement Clark Moore. Like woolly alder aphids we met a few weeks ago, these aphids also reproduce parthenogenetically, that is, without males. To learn more about the magnificent giant aphids on beech and willows, please visit the following websites:
To witness aphid viviparity, please click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yup6spoUpv0