The Russian wheat aphid, Diuraphis noxia (Mordvilko) (Homoptera: Aphididae), has been a major economic pest of small grains in the western United States since its introduction in 1986. Recently, a new Russian wheat aphid biotype was discovered in southeastern Colorado that damaged previously resistant wheat, Triticum aestivum L. Biotype development jeopardizes the durability of plant resistance, which has been a cornerstone for Russian wheat aphid management. Our objective was to assess the relative amount of biotypic diversity among Russian wheat aphid populations collected from cultivated wheat and barley, Hordeum vulgare L. We conducted field surveys from May through June 2002 and August 2003 from seven counties within Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming. Based upon a foliar chlorosis damage rating, three new Russian wheat aphid biotypes were identified, one of which was virulent to all characterized sources of Russian wheat aphid resistance. The future success of Russian wheat aphid resistance breeding programs will depend upon the continual monitoring of extant biotypic diversity and determination of the ecological and genetic factors underlying the development of Russian wheat aphid biotypes.
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