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Species Page

rice root aphid

Rhopalosiphum rufiabdominalis


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Host plants / species affected

Main hosts

show all species affected
Gossypium (cotton)
Hordeum vulgare (barley)
Oryza sativa (rice)
Prunus (stone fruit)
Prunus mume (Japanese apricot tree)
Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane)
Solanum melongena (aubergine)
Triticum (wheat)

List of symptoms / signs

Roots - external feeding
Stems - external feeding
Whole plant - discoloration
Whole plant - distortion; rosetting
Whole plant - wilt


In rice, plants wilt and die if large numbers of R. rufiabdominalis occur on the upper parts of roots. The usual effect of aphid feeding is less extreme, however, with plants becoming yellow and distorted.

Prevention and control

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:

This information is part of a full datasheet available in the Crop Protection Compendium (CPC); For information on how to access the CPC, click here.


R. rufiabdominalis is an economic pest of upland rice, particularly in Japan, but is not a pest of irrigated rice anywhere in the world (Grist and Lever, 1969). Injury to upland rice can be severe in Japan, with losses of up to 50-70% (Yano et al., 1983). Occurrence was related to the cultivars of upland rice in China, where aphids caused light damage at the seedling stage and heavy damage at the tillering stage (Ding, 1985). Generally, aphids cause more serious damage during the early growth stages (Yano et al., 1983).

R. rufiabdominalis infests the roots of a range of other crops worldwide, including barley in Turkey, wheat in India, North America and Africa (Doncaster, 1956; Singh et al., 1994, Beant Singh et al., 2014), aubergines in Spain (Melia, 1986), cotton in Africa and the USA (Doncaster, 1956; Duviard and Mercadier, 1973; Stoetzel et al., 1996), seed potatoes in India (Chandel et al., 2013) and sugarcane in Japan and India (Setokuchi, 1993Shukla and Sinha, 2009). It is reported fairly infrequently on cereals, but its subterranean habitat may mean that it is frequently overlooked.

R. rufiabdominalis has become a pest of plants grown in hydroponic systems in greenhouses, in the USA and elsewhere (e.g. Etzel and Petitt, 1992), and under these circumstances can infest plants outside its usual host range. R. rufiabdominalis was first reported infesting greenhouse tomatoes and sweet peppers (Capscium annuum) in Ontario, Canada, in 2004-2005 (Zilahi-Balogh et al., 2005) and greenhouse potatoes in Syria in 2007 (Fujiie et al., 2008).

R. rufiabdominalis was recorded undergoing a complete life cycle, including bisexual generations and overwintering on Prunus armeniaca (apricot) and Prunus domestica (common plum) in northern Italy in 2013. This is the first record of holocyclic populations of R. rufiabdominalis outside the East Asian region and indicates an increased threat of the aphid to graminaceous crops, and possibly stone fruits, in temperate Europe (Rakauskas et al., 2015).

R. rufiabdominalis is a vector of Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) (Paliwal, 1980; Jedlinski, 1981) and Cereal yellow dwarf virus (CYDV) (Hadi et al., 2011), which contributes to its economic importance as a pest of barley in Turkey and North America. Singh (1977) presented evidence of R. rufiabdominalis being a vector of Maize mosaic virus in India. R. rufiabdominalis has also been reported to transmit Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV) in India (Shukla and Sinha, 2009) and is thought to be a non-persistent vector of Cucumber mosaic virus, which causes serious damage to tobacco in some areas in Taiwan (Chen and Weng, 1969). In preliminary trials in Hawaii, R. rufiabdominalis transmitted Sugarcane yellow leaf virus (ScYLV) from infected wheat seedlings to wheat and oats, but was not a vector of ScYLV in sugarcane plantations (Schenck and Lehrer, 2000; Lehrer et al., 2007).