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Colonization of the Biomass Energy Crop Miscanthus by the Three Aphid Species, Aphis fabae, Myzus persicae, and Rhopalosiphum padi

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Miscanthus is a perennial C4-grass that has received much interest as a potential biomass crop in Europe. However, little is known about the consequences of its introduction in terms of impact on the local agroecosytem. In this context, laboratory experiments were conducted to investigate the potential colonization of this new exotic plant species by three of the main aphid pest species of common crops in Picardie, northern France. In host preference experiments, the two polyphagous aphid species studied, Aphis fabae (Scop) and Myzus persicae (Sulzer), exhibited an exclusive preference for their host plant, whereas the cereal specialist Rhopalosiphum padi (L.) showed no preference between its host plant and miscanthus. When assessed by electrical penetration graph technique, plant tissue probing activity by all three species always was characterized by pathway phases including potential drops that are typically associated to the transmission of noncirculative viruses. Phloem ingestion was observed in 5% of the polyphagous aphid individuals tested and in 20% of the R. padi tested. Aphids kept in clip-cages on miscanthus had a low survival rate and were unable to reproduce. These results demonstrate that miscanthus is not a suitable host for these three main aphid pest species but could act as a potential host for some viruses transmitted in a noncirculative manner and also in a circulative nonpropagative manner. The use of miscanthus as a barrier crop to limit the flow of aphid vectors and their phytoviruses is discussed.

Keywords: Aphididae; Miscanthus sacchariflorus; electrical penetration graph; host plant suitability; phytovirus

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EC12147

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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