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Comparative life history and parasitism of a new colour morph of the walnut aphid in California

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1 The walnut aphid Chromaphis juglandicola is a yellow aphid. In 2003, however, a white colour morph was discovered in the Sacramento Valley of California. The colour dimorphism occurs between clone lines and, when white morphs are present, they occur in mixed colour morph colonies on the underside of walnut leaves.

2 Laboratory experiments were undertaken to evaluate the thermal requirements for development, adult longevity and progeny production of the two colour morphs. Host instar preference of Trioxys pallidus, a parasitoid responsible for the successful biological control of the walnut aphid in California, was examined separately for each colour morph, and host colour preference was investigated for the preferred instar.

3 No differences in thermal requirements for development, adult size or mean longevity were detected between yellow and white colour morphs. A small difference in early reproduction was detected: white colour morphs produced more progeny on each of the two first days of adult reproduction than yellow colour morphs.

4 Trioxys pallidus showed a slight preference for the fourth instar of the yellow morph over the second- and third-, but equal preference for second, third and fourth instars of the white morph. When offered equal numbers of fourth instars of the two colour morphs, T.pallidus did not show any colour preference.

5 The differences in early aphid reproduction and host instar preference by T.pallidus were combined in a stage-structured matrix model. Model analysis showed a greater potential for population growth of the white morph over the yellow morph, with early reproduction having a greater influence than host instar preference.

Keywords: Adult size; Chromaphis juglandicola; Trioxys pallidus; fecundity; host colour preference; host instar preference; longevity; stage structured matrix model; thermal requirement

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2008-05-01

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