Role of leaf glandular trichomes of melon plants in deterrence of Aphis gossypii Glover


  • Editor
    N. van Dam

Maria L. Gómez-Guillamón, Experimental Station ‘La Mayora’ CSIC, 29760-Algarrobo, Málaga, Spain.


External characteristics of the leaf epidermis and their effects on behaviour of Aphis gossypii Glover were evaluated in two Cucumis melo L. genotypes, ‘Bola de Oro’ (aphid susceptible) and TGR-1551 (aphid resistant) in order to explore their role in the early rejection of TGR-1551 by this aphid. No differential effects of epicuticular waxes on aphid behaviour were observed. The type, distribution and number of trichomes on melon leaves were also studied. Pubescence in melon, measured as the number of non-glandular trichomes per cm2, was not sufficient to prevent aphid settling. However, there was a high density of type I glandular trichomes on leaves of the aphid-resistant genotype. According to microscopic observations and stain testing, these trichomes store and secrete phenols and flavonoids. Free-choice tests were conducted to determine the effect of these glandular trichomes on A. gossypii preference, revealing that aphids reject leaf disks of TGR-1551 from the onset of the experiment. Additional experiments after removal of leaf type I glandular trichome exudates showed that A. gossypii preferred washed TGR-1551 leaf disks over unwashed disks, while this effect was not observed in experiments using washed and unwashed ‘Bola de Oro’ leaf disks. These results suggest that a high density of glandular trichomes and chemicals secreted by them deter A. gossypii and disturb aphid settling on TGR-1551.