• aphid;
  • EPG;
  • probing behaviour;
  • plant resistance


The probing and feeding behaviour of the cabbage aphid, Brevicoryne brassicae (L.), (Homoptera, Aphididae) was studied on several plant species that represented various levels of acceptability: Sinapis alba L. (a permanent host plant), Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Med., Thlaspi arvense L., Lunaria annua L., Erysimum cheiranthoides L. (accidental host plants), Vicia faba L. (a non-host plant), using the electrical penetration graph technique (EPG). B. brassicae on V. faba did not show any patterns related to penetration of phloem vessels. Stylet penetration was deterred on L. annua and E. cheiranthoides where non-penetration prevailed, the periods of sap ingestion were short or did not occur, the percentage of time spent in the phloem was consistently low (5–6%) and E1 salivation predominated. The pathway activities were not suppressed on C. bursa-pastoris and T. arvense and the aphids spent an average of 3 h in the phloem during the 8-h experiment. However, a considerable delay between finding and accepting the phloem and a substantial proportion of E1 salivation (20–30% of all phloem activities) indicated a deterrent factor in the sieve elements of these plants. Aphid probing and sap ingestion were rarely interrupted on S. alba. The results of this study suggest that the deterrent agents vary in activity and may hinder stylet penetration at different levels (epidermis, parenchymatous tissues and/or phloem elements), depending on the plant species.