Aphids are the most prolific vectors of plant viruses resulting in significant yield losses to crops worldwide. Potato virus Y (PVY) is transmitted in a non-persistent manner by 65 species of aphids.With the increasing acreage of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) (Rosales: Cannabaceae) in the United States, we were interested to know if the cannabis aphid (Phorodon cannabis Passerini) (Hemiptera: Aphididae) is a potential vector of PVY. Here, we conduct transmission assays and utilize the electrical penetration graph (EPG) technique to determine whether cannabis aphids can transmit PVY to hemp (host) and potato (non-host) (Solanum tuberosum L.) (Solanales: Solanaceace). We show for the first time that the cannabis aphid is an efficient vector of PVY to both hemp (96% transmission rate) and potato (91%) using cohorts of aphids. In contrast, individual aphids transmitted the virus more efficiently to hemp (63%) compared to potato (19%). During the initial 15 min of EPG recordings, aphids demonstrated lower number and time spent performing intracellular punctures on potato compared to hemp, which may in part explain low virus transmission to potato using individual aphids. During the entire 8-hour recording, viruliferous aphids spent less time ingesting phloem compared to non-viruliferous aphids on hemp. This reduced host acceptance could potentially cause viruliferous aphids to disperse thereby increasing virus transmission. Overall, our study shows that cannabis aphid is an efficient vector of PVY, and that virus infection and host plant suitability affect feeding behaviors of the cannabis aphid in ways which may increase virus transmission.
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Vol. 51 • No. 2