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Conditional facilitation of an aphid vector, Acyrthosiphon pisum, by the plant pathogen Pea enation mosaic virus

Hodge, Simon and Powell, G. (2010) Conditional facilitation of an aphid vector, Acyrthosiphon pisum, by the plant pathogen Pea enation mosaic virus. Journal of Insect Science, 10 (155). pp. 1-14. ISSN 1536-2442

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Plant pathogens can induce symptoms that affect the performance of insect herbivores utilizing the same host plant. Previous studies examining the effects of infection of tic bean, Vicia faba L. (Fabales: Fabaceae), by pea enation mosaic virus (PEMV), an important disease of legume crops, indicated there were no changes in the growth and reproductive rate of its primary vector the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum (Harris) (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Here, we report the results of laboratory experiments investigating how A. pisum responded to PEMV infection of a different host plant, Pisum sativum L., at different stages of symptom development. Aphid growth rate was negatively related to the age of the host plant, but when they were introduced onto older plants with well-developed PEMV symptoms they exhibited a higher growth rate compared to those developing on uninfected plants of the same age. In choice tests using leaf discs A. pisum showed a strong preference for discs from PEMV-infected peas, probably in response to visual cues from the yellowed and mottled infected leaves. When adults were crowded onto leaves using clip-cages they produced more winged progeny on PEMV-infected plants. The results indicate that PEMV produces symptoms in the host plant that can enhance the performance of A. pisum as a vector, modify the production of winged progeny and affect their spatial distribution. The findings provide further evidence that some insect vector/plant pathogen interactions could be regarded as mutualistic rather than commensal when certain conditions regarding the age, stage of infection and species of host plant are met.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
Depositing User: Ms Mereoni Camailakeba
Date Deposited: 24 May 2010 23:05
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2012 07:44

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