Pentalonia nigronervosa

Pentalonia nigronervosa
at a glance













Pentalonia nigronervosa Coquerel

Common name
Banana aphid

Pentalonia nigronervosa, better known as the banana aphid, is the most common aphid associated with bananas. It is an economically important insect because of its role as vector of the Banana bunchy top virus that causes bunchy top in bananas. The link between the two was first made in 19221 and confirmed in 19272 .

The banana aphid is also the vector of the Abaca bunchy top virus 3  and of the Banana bract mosaic virus4 . It has also been reported as a putative co-vector of the Cardamom bushy dwarf virus5


The banana aphid belongs to the genus Pentalonia which comprises four species:  P. nigronervosa Coquerel (described in 1859 by the French entomologist Jean-Charles Coquerel using a specimen from the Indian Ocean island of Réunion)6 , P. caladii van der Groot, P. gavarri Eastop7   and P. kalimpongensis8 . The last two species are poorly documented and not always cited as members of the genus.


1 Darnell-Smith, G.P. 1924. "Bunchy top" disease in banana. Queensland Agricultural Journal 21:169-179.
2 Magee, C.J.P. 1927. Investigation on the Bunchy Top Disease of the Banana. Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Bulletin, Melbourne. 86 pp.
3 Sharman, M., Thomas, J.E., Skabo, S. and Holton, T.A. 2008. Abacá bunchy top virus, a new member of the genus Babuvirus (family Nanoviridae). Archives of Virology 153(1):135-147.
4 Diekmann, M. and Putter, C.A.J. (eds.). 1996. FAO/IPGRI technical guidelines for the safe movement of germplasm. No. 15. Musa spp. 2. ed.. IPGRI, FAO, Rome (ITA). 28p.
5 Savory, F.R and Ramakrishnan, U. 2015. Cryptic diversity and habitat partitioning in an economically important aphid species complex. Infection, Genetics and Evolution 30:230-237.
6 Page 260 in: Coquerel, C. 1859. Note sur quelques insectes de Madagascar et de Bourbon. Coléoptères et Homoptères. Annales de la Société entomologique de France, 3(7): 239-260. Drawing: number 3 on plate 6.
7 Eastop, V.F. (1967) A new species of Pentalonia Coquerel (Hem., Aphididae). Entomologist’s Monthly Magazine 102:145–146.