Potato aphid, Macrosiphum euphorbiae (Thomas); green peach aphid, Myzus persicae (Sulzer); and buckthorn aphid, Aphis nasturtii Kaltenbach are polyphagous herbivores that commonly colonize potato plants, Solanum tuberosum L., in the northeastern United States and Canada. Their movement influences spatial and temporal patterns of viral spread within potato fields. We investigated aphid movement between potato plants early in the season, with a particular focus on their ability to walk over bare soil. On average, aphids survived 1.16 ± 0.04 d (mean ± SE) on the surface of bare soil; all of them dying within 3 d. Wingless aphids did not leave potato plants that were adequate as a food supply. When forcibly removed from the host plant and released on the soil surface, all three species colonized the nearest plant within 1 h. However, when given no other choice, a significant proportion of aphids was fully capable of colonizing potato plants as far as 180 cm away from the point of release. Potato aphid, which is the largest, was the most mobile of the three species. The green peach aphid was intermediately mobile, and the buckthorn aphid was the least mobile species.
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