Aphid landing rates, species composition and abundance on lucerne (Medicago sativa), maize (Zea mays), soybean (Glycine max), wheat (Triticum aestivum) and potato (Solanum tuberosum) were determined in a small-scale field trial to identify potential crops as prospective border plants for seed potatoes to reduce the spread of Potato virus (PVY) in South Africa. Aphids were sampled using green bucket traps to estimate aphid landing rates, whereas leaf counts and sweep-netting were used to identify colonizing species. Of the 34 species or species groups collected with green bucket traps, 18 were previously known vectors of PVY. The most abundant vector species or species groups were Acyrthosiphon pisum, Macrosiphum euphorbiae, Metopolophium dirhodum, Myzus persicae, Rhopalosiphum padi and Sitobion spp. The only other species that occurred in high numbers, but whose vector status is unknown, were Acyrthosiphon kondoi and Tetraneura fusiformis. Landing patterns suggest that A. kondoi, A. pisum and M. dirhodum may be able to discriminate between plant species and select their preferred host plant, if available within a habitat patch, in the pre-alighting phase, whereas other species such as R. padi seemed less selective. Results on aphid landing together with colonization of the crops evaluated suggest that maize and wheat show the highest potential as possible crop border plants in regions where aphids colonizing Poaceae, and lucerne in regions where aphids colonizing Fabaceae are abundant. Soybean appears to be less suitable because cultivars with a high trichome density, which reduces colonization by aphids, are preferentially planted in South Africa.
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Vol. 22 • No. 1