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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

sugarcane woolly aphid (Ceratovacuna lanigera)

Host plants / species affected
Coix lacryma-jobi (Job's-tears)
Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane)
Saccharum spontaneum (wild sugarcane)
Sorghum halepense (Johnson grass)
List of symptoms/signs
Leaves  -  honeydew or sooty mould
Leaves  -  honeydew or sooty mould
C. lanigera aphids form a colony on the under-surface of sugarcane leaves. Males are not found in Taiwan and both alate and apterous female adults propagate exclusively by parthenogenesis; however, sexuparae containing male embryos and sexual females were found in Japan but may not be functional (Kurosu and Aoki, 1986).

Noordam (1991) gives a detailed re-description from Java.


First-instar nymphs produced by alate females are relatively active, have long, elliptical bodies and are pale greenish-white, whereas those produced by apterous females have elongated ovoid bodies (0.76 mm long and 0.39 mm wide) and are pale yellowish-white. As nymphs develop the dorsum is gradually covered by a white powdery secretion, which obscures the body segments. The last (fourth-instar) nymph is 9.87 mm long by 1.65 mm wide and densely covered with a thick, white, cotton-like secretion on the dorsum.


The apterous adult female is 1.78 mm long by 1.07 mm wide with a very soft, broad, laterally depressed body which is densely covered by white, cotton-like secretions. After approximately 1 month it begins the continuous production of nymphs.

The alate adult is 2.10 mm long and 6.50 mm wide with the wings expanded. The head is black with enlarged, brick-red eyes. The antennae are dark green, 5-jointed, and 0.95 mm long without hairs. The thorax is dark-brown with the prothorax narrower than the head. The wings are transparent and the wing vein is green. The forewing is very large and has three oblique veins emerging from subcostal vein; the first and second obliques almost join at their bases. The stigma are large and dark-green. The hindwing is small, with two oblique veins which run nearly parallel and almost join at their bases. The hindwing stigma are also large and dark-green. The legs are short and slender, with some short hairs. The first tarsus is short and the second tarsus is more than twice the length of the first. The second tarsus has two long hairs and two claws on its apex. The abdomen is oblong, with some long bristles. It has no waxy secretion and therefore each segment is clearly visible. The cornicle is circular and does not project. The cauda are constricted at the base and the anal plate is bilobed. Each lobe has long bristles on the posterior margin.
Prevention and control

Host-Plant Resistance

The planting of cane varieties that are resistant to C. lanigera is the most important control method used against this aphid.

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources:

C. lanigera attacks, and the subsequent development of mould on leaf surfaces, greatly affect photosynthesis in the infested sugarcane. This may result in the death of young shoots and adversely affect the final cane yield. When growing cane is heavily infested, the canes are shorter and less vigorous and sugar content is reduced by 15%. In India, a significant reduction in growth and sugar content due to C. lanigera infestation has been reported (Gupta and Goswami, 1995).
Related treatment support
Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers
Girija; CABI, 2012, Tamil language
Girija; CABI, 2012, English language
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