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Trophic interactions between three species of cereal aphid (Hemiptera: Aphididae) and spring wheat (Poaceae): implications for pest management1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 April 2012

Samuel M. Migui
Department of Entomology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3T 2N2
Robert J. Lamb
Cereal Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 195 Dafoe Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3T 2M9
E-mail address:


The susceptibilities of genetically diverse Canadian spring wheats, Triticum aestivum L. and Triticum durum Desf., to three aphid species, Rhopalosiphum padi (L.), Sitobion avenae (Fabricius), and Schizaphis graminum (Rondani), were investigated. Trophic interactions measured as changes in biomass of aphids and wheat plants were used to quantify levels of resistance, components of resistance, and impact of aphids on yield. Plants in field cages were infested with small numbers of aphids for 21 days at heading. These plants were usually more suitable for the development of S. avenae and S. graminum than of R. padi. Partial resistance, measured as seed production by infested plants as a proportion of that by a control, varied from 11% to 59% for different aphid species and wheat classes when all wheat plants were infested at the same stage. Cultivars within wheat classes responded similarly to each of the aphid species. None of the wheat cultivars showed agriculturally effective levels of antibiosis. The specific impact of each aphid species and wheat class varied from 5 to 15 mg of plant biomass lost for each milligram of biomass gained by the aphids. Canadian Western Red Spring wheat had a lower specific impact and therefore was more tolerant to aphids than the other two classes, but not tolerant enough to avoid economic damage at the aphid densities observed. Plants did not compensate for feeding damage after aphid feeding ceased, based on the higher specific impacts observed for mature plants than for plants that were heading. The interactions between aphids and plants show that current economic thresholds probably underestimate the damage caused by cereal aphids to Canadian spring wheat.


Nous avons étudié la vulnérabilité des blés de printemps canadiens, Triticum aestivum L. et Triticum durum Desf., à forte diversité génétique à l’attaque par trois espèces de pucerons, Rhopalosiphum padi (L.). Sitobion avenae (Fabricius) et Schizaphis graminum (Rondani). Les interactions trophiques, sous forme de changements de biomasse des pucerons et des plants de blé, ont servi à quantifier les niveaux de résistance, les composantes de la résistance et l’impact des pucerons sur le rendement. Nous avons infesté des plants dans des cages de terrain avec un petit nombre de pucerons pendant 21 jours au moment de la formation de l’épi. Ces plants sont généralement plus favorables au développement de S. avenae et de S. graminum que de R. padi. La résistance partielle, d’après la production de graines par les plants infestés par rapport à celle des plants témoins, varie de 11 % à 59 % selon les différentes espèces de pucerons et de classes de blé, lorsque tous les plants sont infestés au même stade. Au sein de chaque classe de blé, les cultivars réagissent de façon semblable à chacune des espèces de pucerons. Aucun des cultivars de blé ne montre de niveau d’antibiose d’efficacité agricole. L’impact spécifique de chaque espèce de puceron sur les classes de blé se traduit par une perte de 5 à 15 mg de tissu de plante pour chaque mg de gain de masse des pucerons. La classe de blé Canadian Western Red Spring subit un impact spécifique plus faible et est donc plus tolérante aux pucerons que les autres classes, mais pas suffisamment pour éviter des dommages d’importance économique aux densités de pucerons observées. Une fois l’alimentation des pucerons terminée, les plants ne font pas de compensation pour les dommages causés par cette alimentation, puisque les impacts spécifiques observés chez les plants à maturité sont supérieurs à ceux des plants qui sont au stade de la formation de l’épi. Les interactions entre les pucerons et les plants indiquent que les seuils économiques couramment utilisés sous-estiment probablement les dommages causés par les pucerons des céréales au blé de printemps canadien.

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Copyright © Entomological Society of Canada 2007

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Contribution No. 1957 of the Cereal Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba.


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