The woolly poplar aphid, Phloeomyzus passerinii (Signoret) (Hemiptera: Aphididae), is a major pest of poplar plantations in the Mediterranean basin and the Near East. Aphids colonize poplar trunks and feed upon the cortical parenchyma. Despite the economic importance of poplar, little is known about the mechanisms involved in poplar resistance to this pest. However, Populus x canadensis Moench genotypes show various levels of resistance to P. passerinii. This study has investigated the type of poplar resistance (antibiosis or antixenosis) by assessing aphid settlement, physiology (survival, development, and reproduction), and stylet penetration behavior (electrical penetration graph) on three P. x canadensis genotypes; ‘I214’ (susceptible), ‘Brenta’ (resistant), and ‘I45/51’ (intermediate). Because settlement was reduced, the highly resistant genotype Brenta exhibited surface antixenosis. In addition, nymphal survival was null on Brenta, and twice less adult aphid initiated a sustained intracellular phase in the cortical parenchyma of that genotype compared with the other two genotypes. Thus, Brenta also showed parenchyma-located antixenosis coupled with antibiosis characteristic. In contrast, P. passerinii had no difficulty to initiate a sustained ingestion in the cortical parenchyma of the intermediate genotype I45/51, but decreased fecundity and lower intrinsic rate of natural increase were clear expressions of antibiosis.
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