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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, 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 two rather little-known and closely-related species (Schizaphis holci and Schizaphis agrostis) are associated with the wild grasses, Holcus lanatus and Agrostis stolonifera. Since 1987, winged (alate) aphids morphologically resembling the greenbug have been found in increasing numbers in 12.2 m high suction-trap samples of the Rothamsted Insect Survey (RIS); hence, studies were undertaken to establish their identity. Clones (=asexual lineages) established from populations collected from H. lanatus in southern England showed strong preference for Holcus over Agrostis and Hordeum in laboratory tests and produced sexual morphs when transferred to short-day conditions, the males being apterous, as expected for S. holci. Multivariate morphometric comparisons of alatae caught in UK RIS suction traps in 2007 and 2011 with named specimens from museum collections, including S. graminum from many countries, indicated that the suction-trapped alatae were mostly S. agrostis and S. holci. Cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) mtDNA obtained from 62 UK specimens from suction-traps had 95.4–100% sequence identity with US specimens of S. graminum. Two of the UK specimens had identical COI sequence to the US sorghum-adapted form of S. graminum, and these specimens also had 100% identity with a 640 bp fragment of nDNA CytC, indicating that this form of S. graminum may already be present in the UK. Present and future economic implications of these results are 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 08 v.103 no.4
Cambridge University Press
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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