Host plant effects on the performance of the aphid Aulacorthum solani (Kalt.) (Homoptera: Aphididae) at ambient and elevated CO2


CAROLINE S. AWMACK fax + 44 (0)1582 760981


In future elevated CO2 environments, chewing insects are likely to perform less well than at present because of the effects of increased carbon fixation on their host plants. When the aphid, Aulacorthum solani was reared on bean (Vicia faba) and tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) plants under ambient and elevated CO2, performance was enhanced on both hosts at elevated CO2. The nature of the response was different on each plant species suggesting that feeding strategy may influence an insect’s response to elevated CO2. On bean, the daily rate of production of nymphs was increased by 16% but there was no difference in development time, whereas on tansy, development time was 10% shorter at elevated CO2 but the rate of production of nymphs was not affected. The same aphid clone therefore responded differently to elevated CO2 on different host plants. This increase in aphid performance could lead to larger populations of aphids in a future elevated CO2 environment.