Biotypes are infraspecific classifications based on biological rather than morphological characteristics. Cereal aphids are managed primarily by host plant resistance, and they often develop biotypes that injure or kill previously resistant plants. Although molecular genetic variation within aphid biotypes has been well documented, little is known about phenotypic variation, especially virulence or the biotype’s ability to cause injury to cultivars with specific resistance genes. Five clones (single maternal lineages) of Russian wheat aphid, Diuraphis noxia (Kurdjumov) (Homoptera: Aphididae), determined to be injurious to wheat, Triticum aestivum L., with the Dn4 gene, were evaluated on resistant and susceptible wheat and barley, Hordeum vulgare L., for their ability to cause chlorosis, reduction in plant height, and reduction in shoot dry weight. Variation to cause injury on resistant ‘Halt’ wheat, susceptible ‘Jagger’ wheat, and resistant ‘STARS-9301B’ barley was found among the Dn4 virulent clones. One clone caused up to 30.0 and 59.5% more reduction in plant height and shoot dry weight, respectively, on resistant Halt than other clones. It also caused up to 29.9 and 55.5% more reduction in plant height and shoot dry weight, respectively, on susceptible Jagger wheat. Although STARS-9301B barley exhibited an equal resistant response to feeding by all five clones based on chlorosis, two clones caused ≈20% more reduction in plant height and shoot dry weight than three other clones. The most injurious clones on wheat were not the most injurious clones on barley. This is the first report of variation to cause varying degrees of plant damage within an aphid biotype virulent to a single host resistance gene. A single aphid clone may not accurately represent the true virulent nature of a biotype population in the field.
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Vol. 100 • No. 5