In 1986, the Russian wheat aphid, Diuraphis noxia (Kurdjumov) (Hemiptera: Aphididae), became an invasive species of United States. Nearly 20 yr later, new biotypes appeared that were capable of overcoming most sources of resistance and became a renewed threat to wheat, Triticum aestivum L., production. Cyclical (CP) and obligate (OP) parthenogenesis enables aphids to both adapt to changing environments and exploit host resources. We documented these forms of reproduction for Russian wheat aphid in wheat and wild grasses in the Central Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions during falls 2004–2009. Colonies from sample sites also were held under unheated greenhouse conditions and observed for the presence of sexual morphs and eggs through the winter. Russian wheat aphid populations were mainly OP and attempted to overwinter as adults, regardless of region sampled. A few populations contained oviparae but no males (gynocyclic) and were not specific to any particular region. Observation of the Russian wheat aphid colonies under greenhouse conditions failed to produce males or eggs. In spring 2007, CP was confirmed in a small population of Russian wheat aphid that eclosed from eggs (fundatricies) on wild grasses and wheat near Dove Creek, CO, in the Colorado Plateau region where other aphid species undergo CP. Lineages from ninety-three fundatricies were screened against 16 resistant and susceptible cereal entries to determine their biotypic classification. A high degree of biotypic diversity (41.4%) was detected in this population. Although CP was a rare in Russian wheat aphid populations, genetic recombination during the sexual cycle creates new biotypes and can have significant effects on population genetics.
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Vol. 105 • No. 3