• aphid;
  • Diuraphis noxia;
  • Triticum aestivum;
  • endosymbiont;
  • insect-plant interactions;
  • phloem;
  • amino acids


The feeding behavior of Diuraphis noxia Mordvilko (Homoptera: Aphididae) on susceptible hosts causes both ultrastructural and tissue level damage which may affect phloem composition. Genetic evidence suggests that endosymbiotic bacteria in most aphids overproduce limiting amino acids to benefit hosts but that D. noxia depends less on endosymbionts for these nutrients, possibly due to an enriched diet. To determine whether D. noxia feeding damage results in higher concentrations of essential amino acids, stylet exudates were analyzed from wheat (Triticum aestivum) damaged to different degrees. Comparison of samples from undamaged and damaged susceptible wheat revealed changes in amino acid composition and an increase in levels of essential amino acids, indicating a nutritionally enhanced ingesta. The changes in stylet exudates paralleled changes in leaf exudates, indicating that the effects are systemic. Feeding damage is not observed on a resistant wheat host, var. Halt, and leaf exudates from infested Halt did not show changes in amino acid composition. Mean relative growth of nymphs was significantly lower on Halt than on susceptible Arapahoe, indicating that Halt is a less suitable host. Both varieties show similar amino acid levels in non-infested samples, suggesting that D. noxia infestation does not enhance the phloem environment in Halt. This study provides evidence that aphid feeding can generate a nutritionally enhanced phloem diet.