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Impact of indigenous aphids on development of the invasive common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.) in Hungary

Basky, Zsuzsa, Magyar, D.
Journal of pest science 2009 v.82 no.1 pp. 19-25
Ambrosia artemisiifolia, Aphis fabae, Brachycaudus helichrysi, Helianthus annuus, Myzus persicae, arthropods, emissions, field experimentation, greenhouses, host plants, indigenous species, invasive species, plant development, pollen, Hungary
The common ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia is a widespread invasive weed species in Europe. In order to estimate the deteriorative effect of native arthropods on the invasive ragweed the effect of three indigenous aphid species on plant development and pollen production was studied. Common ragweed plants grown in a greenhouse were artificially infested with five apterous individuals of either Aphis fabae, Brachycaudus helichrysi or Myzus persicae at the 4-leaf stage. Feeding by all three aphid species over a 5-week period significantly reduced plant height, the number of male inflorescences, the length of racemes, pollen emission and plant dry mass. Brachycaudus helichrysi produced the largest colonies, followed by A. fabae and M. persicae. In a host plant choice test, B. helichrysi showed significant preference for ragweed over sunflower, whereas A. fabae preferred sunflower and M. persicae did not show any preference. In a field experiment, the growth rate of A. fabae on caged ragweed plants was similar to that in the greenhouse, but the final numbers of B. helichrysi and M. persicae after 30 days was ten and seven times lower than under greenhouse conditions, respectively. On exposed field plants, B. helichrysi was more abundant than other species. However, no aphid species affected the height or dry mass of either caged or exposed plants during a 30-day period. Under controlled conditions aphids effectively hampered development and pollen production of ragweed, however, under Hungarian field conditions the development of ragweed was much more dynamic, therefore no deleterious effect of aphid feeding occurred.