Potato virus Y is transmitted to potato in a nonpersistent manner by many aphid species, some of which do not colonize this crop. The behavior of bird cherry-oat aphid, Rhopalosiphum padi (L.) on potato, Solanum tuberosum L., a plant species that is not colonized by this aphid, was described and compared with that of the potato-colonizing green peach aphid, Myzus persicae (Sulzer). A higher proportion of winged morph of R. padi than M. persicae left the plant, but aphids that stayed in contact with the plant took the same mean time to initiate the first probe and it lasted the same mean time compared with M. persicae. Electronic penetration graph technique was used to study the probing behavior of the aphids during Potato virus Y (family Potyviridae, genus Potyvirus, PVY) transmission tests. Transmission rate decreased from 29 to 8% when the acquisition time increased from 5 min of continuous probing to 1 h with M. persicae, but it remained low (2 and 1%) with R. padi. Most of the difference in transmission rate between acquisition time with M. persicae and between aphid species was related to the change in the time and behavior taking place between the last cell puncture of the acquisition phase to the first cell puncture of the inoculation phase. Results presented here clearly demonstrated the importance of host plant selection and probing behavior in the transmission of nonpersistent plant viruses. They also stress the need to consider the behavior of the aphid in the design of laboratory tests of virus vector efficacy.
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Vol. 101 • No. 3