Confirming the Documented Graminous Host Range for Sugarcane Aphid [Melanaphis sacchari (Zehntner) (Aphididae)]

Monday, March 14, 2016
Oak Forest Ballroom Prefunction Area (Sheraton Raleigh Hotel)
Greg Wilson , Department of Entomology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
David L. Kerns , Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Winnsboro, LA
Within the past few years in the Southern United States, the overall occurrence of sugarcane aphid [Melanaphis sacchari (Zethner, 1897) (Hemiptera: Aphididae)] (SCA) on sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.) has rapidly increased. It is theorized this is due to a host shift occurring somewhere along the Gulf Coast Region around 2013, where SCA abandoned sugarcane (Sacchrum officinarum L.) for sorghum. Since then, SCA have become a serious nuisance causing 50-75% total yield losses in sorghum fields across the entire Southeastern U.S and Northern Mexico. Therefore, recognition and characterization of this emerging pests’ bio-ecology is needed in order to effectively manage SCA populations. Aphids in the genus Melanaphis van der Groot are primarily associated with the Poaceae family and 27 grasses of the Family Poaceae are being used in a growth chamber no-choice container study evaluating SCA primary and alternate host ranges. Of the 15 cultivated or wild species tested so far, there is a strong association with Panicoideae subfamily and aphids were able to survive, increase populations, and kill 4 Sorghum spp. In addition, two Pennisetum spp., Zea mays L., and three Echinochloa spp. showed short term aphid survivability with gradual population increases, with remaining grasses being not preferable to SCA.