Banana aphid

Pentalonia nigronervosa

Small reddish-brown to almost black oval shaped aphids. Aphids have two characteristic projections from the rear of the abdomen. Colonies of adult and immature stages are found on the pseudostem (of banana plants) under the leaf bracts and between the bunch bracts and the branch stalk. Colonies can also be found in the unfurled top leaves of young plants and suckers or under leaf bases near ground level. Winged forms have prominent forewings with dark pigmented veins.

Damage: Banana aphid is a minor and frequent pest in northern Queensland where bunchy top does not occur. A more serious pest in south-east Queensland because it is a vector of bunchy top disease. Direct feeding damage is uncommon. Damage from excessive honeydew and the resultant sooty mould development occurs only rarely and only when populations build up to high levels. The greatest potential damage is due to transmission of bunchy top virus in southern Queensland. Because of this the aphid is regarded as a serious pest in that area. The virus is not present in North Queensland.

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