Popular Vagabound Aphid – Mordwilkoja vagabunda

Popular Vagabound Aphid (Mordwilkoja vagabunda)

Latin Name: Mordwilkoja vagabunda

Common Name: Poplar vagabond aphid


  • Vagabond gall aphids come in various body shapes, sizes, and colours, depending on their age and generation.
  • They are winged or wingless and range in length from 0.6 to 4.6 millimetres (2/100 to 18/100 of an inch).
  • They range in hue from light green to dark brown.
  • The vagabond gall aphid is easily identified by its affinity with galls.
  • The aphid will always be found within its galls, except for brief times of movement on or between plants.

Hosts plants: Aspen primarily, but occasionally other Populus

Damage insect caused by Mordwilkoja vagabunda: 

Aphids feed on the growing leaves, causing them to become deformed and fold into leathery galls. Galled leaves tend to stay on trees and aren’t evident until after the typical fall of leaves.

Beneficial garden insects:

Some bugs are beneficial to the garden. These wonderful guys are known as “beneficial insects,” and they may be extremely useful to your garden by devouring pest insects that would otherwise consume your plants. Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular helpful insects and how to get them into your garden.

Some beneficial garden insects are given:

  • Ladybirds (Coleoptera)
  • Lacewings (Neuroptera)
  • Hoverflies (Diptera)
  • Parasitic wasps (Hymenoptera)
  • Solitary bees (Hymenoptera)
  • Ground beetles (Coleoptera, Carabidae)
  • Butterflies and moths

Life History and Habits: 

During its life cycle, the poplar vagabond aphid has two hosts. Eggs deposited in bark fissures or old galls on aspen or other Populus species are the overwintering stage. The aphids feed on the increasing ends of twigs when the eggs hatch in the spring. Feeding causes big irregularly shaped galls to grow on twig tips.

Aphids with wings leave the gall early in the summer and fly to a summer host. Although no known local hosts in the area, loosestrife is a common substitute host in other locations. After many generations on this host, where they may be found on leaves, stems, and roots, winged stages are generated, which fly back to Populus in early fall, mate, and lay overwintering eggs.