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Reproductive response of generalist and specialist aphid morphs with the same genotype to plant secondary compounds and amino acids

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Colin Tosh


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Many studies have paid particular attention to the role of either secondary plant compounds or amino acids as determinants of host-plant range in phytophagous insects. Here we examine the relative importance of both of these classes of compound in host acceptance by generalist and specialist morphs of the black bean aphid, Aphis fabae, that are morphologically similar and genetically identical. Eleven secondary plant compounds and six amino acids with known biological activity in aphids are presented to insects within an artificial membrane system as single compounds, mixtures of same-class compounds and combined mixtures of the two classes of compound. It is found that 1) when specific single secondary compounds and amino acids are presented to generalist and specialist morphs of A. fabae, differential responses are exclusively consistent with plant-use strategy for amino acids but not for secondary compounds, 2) neither secondary compound nor amino acid mixtures give reproductive responses entirely consistent with plant range, but the response to secondary compounds is broadly consistent with plant range whereas the response to amino acids is not, 3) when secondary compounds and amino acid mixtures are combined, the response to secondary compounds generally dominates that to amino acids. Some scenarios of plant-range determination by secondary plant compounds and amino acids, suggested by results, are discussed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tosh CR, Powell G, Holmes ND, Hardie J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Insect Physiology

Year: 2003

Volume: 49

Issue: 12

Pages: 1173-1182

ISSN (print): 0022-1910

ISSN (electronic): 1879-1611

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2003.08.014


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