Monday, December 10, 2007 - 8:29 AM

Cold tolerance of the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae: A comparison of clones

Adam Petherwick, and Jeff Bale, University of Birmingham, School of Biosciences, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Low temperature is an important factor in determining the distribution of all forms of life. This is particularly true for insects, given their inability to generate their own body heat. The insect used in this study is the peach-potato aphid, Myzus persicae (Hemiptera), which like all aphids has the ability to reproduce asexually. In the UK, M. persicae is able to reproduce asexually indefinitely (anholocycly), thereby generating distinct clones. As arguably the most important insect crop pest in Europe, M. persicae not only transmits plant viruses to a plethora of crops, but numerous clones have also evolved insecticide resistant mechanisms. However, for such clones, it is predicted that their ability to survive low temperatures is compromised by their insecticide resistant abilities. Such a trade-off could prove detrimental for these clones. This is because in the UK, in order to re-infest crops in spring, clones of M. persicae must continue feeding and reproducing throughout the year, even during the low temperatures they experience in autumn and winter. With this possible trade-off in mind, laboratory-based experiments have been conducted to compare the cold tolerance of insecticide-susceptible and –resistant clones. Findings add to the field of insect low temperature biology, not only by highlighting the importance of making comparisons between clones, and not just species, but also, the results could prove economically beneficial by influencing crop pest management.

Species 1: Hemiptera Aphididae Myzus persicae (green peach aphid, peach-potato aphid)