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Aphis spiraecola and Aphis (Toxoptera) citricidus differently manipulate plant metabolism to gain fitness in terms of population abundance or dispersal

Jing Gao, Baolin Xiu, Ziqiang Sun, Steve Arthurs, Honggang Guo, Shimin Gu, Jianzhao Long, ChuanGuo Xia, Mubasher Hussain, Runqian Mao
Entomologia experimentalis et applicata 2022 v.170 no.2 pp. 168-181
Aphis spiraecola, Citrus sinensis, chlorophyll, cultivars, leaves, metabolism, oranges, phloem, sap, species abundance
The response of plant cultivars to infestation by single aphid species has been widely reported, whereas the response of plants to multiple aphid species, and the mechanisms by which various aphids benefit from the induced changes, has been largely ignored. Here we analyzed the symptoms and physiological responses of sweet orange, Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck (Rutaceae), as affected by Aphis spiraecola Patch and Aphis (Toxoptera) citricidus (Kirkaldy) (Hemiptera: Aphididae). We further compared the feeding behavior, population abundance, and proportion of winged morph of the two aphid species when separately feeding on sweet orange. Results showed that feeding by A. spiraecola, but not A. citricidus, caused leaf curling, reduced shoot length, shoot fresh weight, and chlorophyll concentration. In addition, A. spiraecola feeding increased the concentration of essential amino acids in leaves when compared with A. citricidus and uninfested control plants. Electrical penetration graph‐studies showed that A. citricidus gained faster access and acceptance of phloem, and spent more time ingesting phloem sap, than A. spiraecola. Furthermore, after 2 weeks of infestation, A. spiraecola produced more winged morphs, whereas A. citricidus achieved higher population abundance. Thus, our results indicate that the two citrus aphids utilize divergent strategies to manipulate host metabolism, and gain fitness benefits in population abundance or winged form production. The results could improve our understanding of varied adaptive strategies of co‐existing insects and extend our knowledge of aphid‐plant interactions.