Infestation with the bird cherry-oat aphid considerably reduced the dry weight yield, the leaf area, the number of tillers and the number of leaves of barley plants. Growth analysis revealed that the major effect of infestation was to reduce unit leaf rate. However, infested plants compensated partially for this by allocating a greater proportion of their dry weight to the production of leaf laminae than did the control plants.
Rates of net photosynthesis in individual, attached leaves were measured using the carbon dioxide exchange method; infested and control plants were found to have very similar rates of photosynthesis. Thus the reduction of unit leaf rate did not result from an effect of photosynthesis. It is suggested that the decreased growth of the barley plants is explicable in terms of cumulative assimilate loss due to aphid feeding.