Potato aphid Macrosiphum euphorbiae performance is determined by aphid genotype and not mycorrhizal fungi or water availability

Alison Jane Karley (Lead / Corresponding author), Matthew Emslie-Smith, Alison Elizabeth Bennett

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    Intra- and inter-specific variation in plant and insect traits can alter the strength and direction of insect-plant interactions, with outcomes modified by soil biotic and abiotic conditions. We used the potato aphid (Macrosiphum euphorbiae Thomas) feeding on cultivated S. tuberosum and wild S. berthaulti to study the impact of water availability and plant mutualistic arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi on aphid performance and susceptibility to a parasitoid wasp (Aphidius ervi Haliday). Plants were grown under glass with live or sterile AM fungal spores and supplied with sufficient or reduced water supply. Plants were infested with one of three genotypes of M. euphorbiae or maintained as aphid-free controls; aphid abundance was scored after one week, after which aphid susceptibility to A. ervi was assayed ex planta. Solanum tuberosum accumulated c. 20% more dry mass than S. berthaultii, and root mass of S. berthaultii was smallest under reduced water supply in the presence of AM fungi. Aphid abundance was lowest on S. berthaultii and highest for genotype'2' aphids; genotype '1' aphid density was particularly reduced on S. berthaultii. Aphid genotype '1' exhibited low susceptibility to parasitism and was attacked less frequently than the other two more susceptible aphid genotypes. Neither AM fungi nor water availability affected insect performance. Our study suggests a fitness trade-off in M. euphorbiae between parasitism resistance and aphid performance on poor quality Solanum hosts that warrants further exploration, and indicates the importance of accounting for genotype identity in determining the outcome of multi-trophic interactions. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1015-1024
    Number of pages10
    JournalInsect Science
    Issue number6
    Early online date18 Feb 2017
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


    • Journal article
    • Aphiduis ervi
    • Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
    • Multi-trophic interaction
    • Parasitism resistance
    • Solanum spp


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