Main content area

Reflectance characteristics of Russian wheat aphid (Hemiptera: Aphididae) stress and abundance in winter wheat

Mirik, M. Jr., Michels, G.J., Kassymzhanova-Mirik, S., Elliott, N.C.
Computers and electronics in agriculture 2007 v.57 no.2 pp. 123
remote sensing, Diuraphis noxia, spectral analysis, wheat, reflectance
The Russian wheat aphid (Diuraphis noxia (Mordvilko)) infests wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), and other small grains and grasses. Russian wheat aphid infestations are unpredictable in time and space. In favorable conditions, Russian wheat aphid feeding can result in heavy damage to wheat and barley in a short period of time. A repetitive monitoring strategy that allows for rapid assessment of aphid infestation and damage over the growing season is critically needed. Tracking the irregular infestation patterns of Russian wheat aphid in order to optimize control efforts is central to the successful management of this aphid. One method that has been shown over a number of years to be useful for monitoring some insect outbreaks is to measure the light reflected by the infested canopy, plant, or leaf. Hence, this research was designed to investigate: (1) the potential use of remotely sensed data to discern and identify differences in spectral reflection patterns (spectral signatures) of winter wheat canopies with and without Russian wheat aphid infestation, and (2) the relationship between spectral indices and Russian wheat aphid abundance in wheat canopies growing in field conditions. Russian wheat aphid-infested wheat canopies had significantly lower reflectance in the near infrared region and higher in the visible range of the spectrum when compared with noninfested canopies. Linear regression analyses showed that there were varying relationships between Russian wheat aphid density and spectral vegetation indices, with coefficients of determination (r²) ranging from 0.91 to 0.01. These results indicate that remote sensing data have the potential to distinguish damage by Russian wheat aphid and quantify its abundance in wheat. However, success for Russian wheat aphid density estimation depends on the selection of spectral vegetation indices.