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Document Type

Peer-Review Article

Abstract

Aphidius colemani Viereck parasitizes several economically important aphid pests of small grain crops including the greenbug, Schizaphis graminum and the Russian wheat aphid, Diuraphis noxia. The ability of A. colemani to switch from S. graminum to several species of aphids common to agricultural and associated non-agricultural ecosystems in the Great Plains, and the effects of host-change on several biological parameters that influence population growth rate were determined. Female A. colemani parasitized and developed to adulthood in nine of 14 aphid species to which they were exposed in the laboratory. All small grain feeding aphids except Sipha flava were parasi­tized. Two sunflower feeding species (Aphis nerii and A. helianthi) and two crucifer feeding species (Lipaphis erysimi and Brevicoryne brassicae) were parasitized, as was the cotton aphid. Aphis gossypii. The average percentage of aphids parasitized differed significantly among host aphid species. as did the percentage of parasitoids surviving from the mummy to the adult stage and the time required for immature development. The sex ratio of adults that enclosed from the various hosts did not differ significantly among species. Dry weights of adult parasitoids differed significantly among host species. Adults from S. graminum weighed most (0.054 mg) while those emerging from A. helianthi weighed least (0.020 mg). Results are discussed in terms of strategies for classical biological control of aphid pests of cereals.

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