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This most dangerous of all vine pests (Daktulosphaira vitifoliae, Viteus vitifoliae) is an insect of the order Phylloxera (Homoptera), suborder Aphidina (Aphidina) and family Phylloxeridae (Phylloxeridae). The phylloxera only attacks the grapevine, sucking on the leaves and/or roots and releasing its saliva into the sap ducts, causing galls (growths) which then serve as oviposition and food.

Reblaus - Entwicklungszyklus - Humboldt-Universität Berlin um 1880

The picture shows the development cycle of phylloxera from the Humboldt University in Berlin (Germany) around 1880.

Phylloxera vastatrix (devastating louse)

Different species are suspected due to different behavioural patterns towards the vine. The German biologist Dr Carl Börner (1880-1953) distinguished between a less dangerous long-bodied phylloxera and a more harmful short-bodied phylloxera. From the initial infestation, it usually takes a maximum of three years for the vines to die and be completely destroyed due to subsequent effects such as nutrient deficiency and root rot. The French scientist Jules Émile Planchon (1823-1888) therefore gave phylloxera the apt name "Phylloxera vastatrix" (devastating louse) when it was identified in France in 1868.

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