phylloxera (fĭlŏkˈsĭrə) [key], small, sap-eating, greenish insect of the genus Phylloxera, closely related to the aphid. Phylloxeras feed on leaves and roots, and many species produce galls on deciduous trees. Their life cycle is complex; one species is known to pass through 21 different stages. Most notorious of the group is the grape phylloxera, Phylloxera vitifoliae, native to E North America. The species has winged and wingless generations, the former causing galls on grape leaves and the latter feeding on the roots, causing nodules and eventually killing the vine. The grape phylloxera came close to destroying the wine industry of France after its accidental introduction in about 1860; grafting of susceptible European vines onto resistant North American root stock saved the European vineyards. Phylloxeras are classified in the phylum Arthropoda, class Insecta, order Homoptera, family Phylloxeridae.
More on phylloxera from Fact Monster:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Zoology: Invertebrates