B.K. Agarwala, Parichita Ray Choudhury
Journal of Insect Science 13 (34), 1-13, (1 April 2013) https://doi.org/10.1673/031.013.3401
KEYWORDS: host adaptation, reciprocal-host transfers
Worldwide, several studies have shown that adaptation to different host plants in phytophagous insects can promote speciation. The cotton aphid, Aphis gossypii Glover (Homoptera: Aphididae: Aphidini), is a highly polyphagous species, but its populations increase by parthenogenetic reproduction alone in Indian subcontinent. This study showed that genotypes living in wild plants of taro, Colocasia esculenta var. esculenta (L.) Schott (Alismatales: Araceae), and brinjal, Solanum torvum Swartz (Solanales: Solanaceae), behave as distinct host races. Success rates of colonization after reciprocal host transfers were very poor. Clones of A. gossypii from wild taro partly survived in the first generation when transferred to wild brinjal, but nymph mortality was 100% in the second generation. In contrast, brinjal clones, when transferred to taro, could not survive even in the first generation. Significant differences between the clones from two host species were also recorded in development time, generation time, fecundity, intrinsic rate of increase, net reproductive rate, and mean relative growth rate. Morphologically, aphids of wild taro clones possessed longer proboscis and fore-femora than the aphids of the brinjal clones. The results showed that A. gossypii exists as distinct host races with different abilities of colonizing host plants, and its populations appear to have more potential of sympatic evolution than previously regarded.