Hairy nightshade, Solanum sarrachoides (Sendtner), is a ubiquitous weed in potato agro-ecosystems and nonagricultural lands of southeastern Idaho and the Pacific Northwest. This weed increases the complexity of the Potato leafroll virus (PLRV) (Luteoviridae: Polervirus)-potato pathosystem by serving as aphid and virus reservoir. Previous field studies showed higher densities of green peach aphid, Myzus persicae (Sulzer), and potato aphid, Macrosiphum euphorbiae (Thomas), the two most important vectors of PLRV, on S. sarrachoides compared with potato plants in the same fields. Some of the S. sarrachoides plants sampled in these surveys tested positive for PLRV. Viral infections can alter the physiology of plant hosts and aphid performance on such plants. To understand better the potential effects of S. sarrachoides on the PLRV-potato-aphid pathosystem, the life histories of M. persicae and M. euphorbiae were compared on virus-free and PLRV-infected S. sarrachoides and potato. Individual nymphs of each aphid species were held in clip cages on plants from each treatment to monitor their development, survival, and reproductive output. Nymphal survival for both aphids across plant species was higher on S. sarrachoides than on potato, and, within plant species, it was higher on PLRV-infected plants than on noninfected plants. With a few exceptions, similar patterns occurred for fecundity, reproductive periods, adult longevity, and intrinsic rate of increase. The enhanced performance of aphids on S. sarrachoides and on PLRV-infected plants could alter the vector population dynamics and thus the PLRV-disease epidemiology in fields infested with this weed.
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