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Identity of Schizaphis species (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in the United Kingdom: are they a threat to crops?

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The greenbug aphid, Schizaphis graminum (Rondani), is a major pest of cereals in some parts of the world and is of particular concern because it can be resistant to some insecticides and overcome the resistance of crops. In the UK it has never been found on crops but an aphid morphologically like the greenbug has been found in increasing numbers in suction trap samples. COI mtDNA gene sequences from UK specimens show them to be very similar, and in some cases identical, to US specimens and to match the three mtDNA haplotypes reported from the US. Large numbers of a Schizaphis species were found on Holcus lanatus L. (Yorkshire fog grass) in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire (UK). Laboratory clones were established and various aspects of their biology were studied in order to address the questions that have been raised on the taxonomic status and damage potential. At present it seems likely that UK specimens from H. lanatus correspond with Schizaphis holci, which poses no threat to crops. Some of the field samples from H. lanatus had identical COI sequences to some of the suction trap samples, but it seems likely that the suction trap samples comprised more than one species or subspecies. Schizaphis graminum s.l. from the UK were very closely related to S. graminum found in the US. Nuclear DNA sequencing supported this relationship. The possibility of S. graminum from Southern Europe moving to the UK and becoming established as a pest of cereals is discussed.
Amalia Kati , Kevin A. Shufran , Mark S. Taylor , Shalva Barjadze , Victor F. Eastop , Roger L. Blackman , Richard Harrington
USDA Scientist Submission
Bulletin of entomological research 2013 v.103 no.4
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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