Close-up photographs of Pentalonia nigronervosa, the banana aphid
The banana aphid is the insect vector of Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV), the viral cause of banana bunchy top disease (BBTD). The aphid picks up the virus while feeding, and becomes infective and may fly to another plant
Control of the banana aphid is essential for effective management of banana bunchy top disease
Adult, wingless banana aphid (highly magnified) feeding on a plant leaf.
A colony of wingless banana aphids feeding on young banana tissue. Either winged or wingless aphids can transmit the virus. Insecticides may be ineffective in preventing the transmission of banana bunchy top virus.
A colony of banana aphids was found hiding under this banana leaf sheath and was being tended by long-legged ants. Here the leaf sheath was pulled down to reveal the tiny black aphids (approximately actual size).
A winged (alate) banana aphid (highly magnified). Winged banana aphids are a part of the ife cycle of the insect. Not all aphids grow wings.
Winged banana aphids can carry the virus long-distance
Photographs are courtesy of the University of Hawaii and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture