Abundance, persistence, and variability of populations of Macrosiphum euphorbiae (Thomas), Myzus persicae (Sulzer), and Aphis nasturtii Kaltenbach (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in potato plots for intervals of 58 years (n = 1), 29 years (n = 2), 19–20 years (n = 3), and 9–10 years (n = 6) were compared. The abundance of M. euphorbiae showed no trend among decades and varied 2.4-fold, whereas that of M. persicae and A. nasturtii declined and showed 54-fold and 3700-fold variation, respectively. All three aphid species persisted through the first five decades and M. euphorbiae also persisted through the sixth (last) decade, but M. persicae and A. nasturtii failed to persist for 1 and 3 years of the last decade, respectively. Population variability (a proportion between 0 and 1) measured over a 58-year interval was high: 0.585 for M. euphorbiae, 0.771 for M. persicae, and 0.830 for A. nasturtii. During the first three but not the last three decades, population variability increased with sampling interval, owing to dramatic declines in abundance for M. persicae and A. nasturtii and one stable decade for M. euphorbiae, but no evidence of a more-time — more-variation effect was detected. Persistence was not related to population variability, but declined with abundance. Populations did not reach equilibrium, because of declining abundance for M. persicae and A. nasturtii and changes in population variability from decade to decade for M. euphorbiae. Populations of M. persicae and A. nasturtii from this crop monoculture were less stable than previously studied natural populations of a native aphid species. In contrast, the population of M. euphorbiae, a native species, had variability in a potato crop similar to that of the previously studied native species. The high population variability of M. persicae and A. nasturtii may be associated with their status as introduced species. The dynamic and species-specific characteristics of population variability require that interspecific comparisons be considered cautiously.
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