A field study was conducted to determine the distribution and development of aphid Nasonovia ribisnigri (Mosley) (Homoptera: Aphididae) populations in iceberg lettuce, Lactuca sativa L. ‘Salinas’. Lettuce plants were transplanted and caged individually in the field and inoculated with apterous N. ribisnigri at 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 wk after transplanting in spring and fall 2002. Plants were harvested 15–50 d after inoculations; numbers of alates and apterous N. ribisnigri were counted or estimated on each leaf for each plant. Inoculations during all 5 wk of plant development resulted in successful colonization of lettuce heads. Results indicated that head formation did not reduce the risk of colonization by N. ribisnigri to iceberg lettuce; plants were susceptible to colonization by N. ribisnigri throughout their development. For later inoculations, N. ribisnigri populations were relatively smaller, and aphids were found mostly within the heads. For earlier inoculations, N. ribisnigri populations were larger, and within-plant distributions shifted toward frame leaves. The shift of population distributions toward frame leaves correlated significantly with increases in N. ribisnigri population density. For most inoculations, more aphids were present on wrapper leaves than on other leaves. The proportion of alates did not vary significantly with population density. Population development of N. ribisnigri also correlated significantly with heat unit accumulation. Yellow sticky cards were used to monitor alates in each cage. Catches of N. ribisnigri alates on yellow sticky cards were significantly correlated with total numbers of alates as well as with total population sizes on individual lettuce plants.
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