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Host selection and performance of the giant willow aphid, Tuberolachnus salignus Gmelin – implications for pest management

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1 The recent increase in planting of selected willow clones as energy crops for biomass production has resulted in a need to understand the relationship between commonly grown, clonally propagated genotypes and their pests.

2 For the first time, we present a study of the interactions of six willow clones and a previously unconsidered pest, the giant willow aphid Tuberolachnus salignus.

3 Tuberolachnus salignus alatae displayed no preference between the clones, but there was genetic variation in resistance between the clones; Q83 was the most resistant and led to the lowest reproductive performance in the aphid

4 Maternal effects buffered changes in aphid performance. On four tested willow clones fecundity of first generation aphids on the new host clone was intermediate to that of the second generation and that of the clone used to maintain the aphids in culture.

5 In the field, patterns of aphid infestation were highly variable between years, with the duration of attack being up to four times longer in 1999. In both years there was a significant effect of willow clone on the intensity of infestation. However, whereas Orm had the lowest intensity of infestation in the first year, Dasyclados supported a lower population level than other monitored clones in the second year.

Keywords: Aphid; Salix; Tuberolachnus salignus; host selection; performance; preference; short rotation coppice; willow

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Imperial College at Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7PY, U.K., 2: School of Animal and Microbial Sciences, University of Reading, P. O. Box 228, Whiteknights, Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AJ, U.K. and 3: The Game Conservancy Trust, Fordingbridge, Hampshire SP6 1EF, U.K.

Publication date: August 1, 2001

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