The impact of light and its role in Russian wheat aphid, Diuraphis noxia (Mordvilko), damage symptom formation, and photosynthetic capacity in ‘Arapahoe’ wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) were examined. After 72 h under continuous dark or continuous light regimes, the number of aphids (nymphs), leaf rolling and chlorosis ratings, fresh leaf weight, and chlorophyll contents were recorded. Photosynthetic rates, chlorophyll a, kinetics and chlorophyll extractions also were determined. Aphid infestation caused significant reductions in plant height, fresh weight, gas exchange, and chlorophyll fluorescence only under continuous light. Under the 72 h continuous dark regime, aphid infestation did not cause either damage symptom formation or reduction in plant growth or metabolism (photosynthesis). Furthermore, significantly more D. noxia nymphs were produced under continuous light condition than continuous dark. Our results demonstrate that the development of D. noxia feeding damage symptoms (i.e., leaf rolling and chlorotic streaks) on susceptible wheat seedlings is a light-activated process, even though the elicitor of the plant damage symptoms is aphid feeding.
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Vol. 96 • No. 1