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Genetic variability in host plant adaptation of the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae

Weber, G.
Entomologia experimentalis et applicata 1985 v.38 no.1 pp. 49-56
Myzus persicae, adults, clones, genetic variation, herbivores, host plants, insects, phenotypic plasticity, plant adaptation, plant-insect relations, potatoes, sugar beet
The green peach aphid, Myzus persicae (Sulz.), is polyphagous on over 400 plant species in more than 50 families. Phenotypic plasticity of individuals and genetic variability in the population presumably contribute to this polyphagy. The genetic variability in field populations of M. persicae was assessed with respect to their adaptation to sugar beets and potatoes. An analysis of more than 1 000 clones, sampled during 1980, 1981 and 1982 from different host plants in the field, revealed a wide genetic variability in host plant adaptation to sugar beets as well as to potatoes. Both traits seem to be inherited independently from each other and do not correlate with clone-specific host plant preference of apterous adults. The aphid M. persicae can be characterized as a polyphagous insect species with a wide, continuously distributed variability and a broad phenotypic plasticity. A general differentiation of herbivorous species into generalists and specialists tends to ignore the genetic component in the complex of insect-plant relationships.