Relative suitability of crested wheatgrass and other perennial grass hosts for the Russian wheat aphid (Homoptera: Aphididae). Academic Article uri icon


  • The Russian wheat aphid, Diuraphis noxia (Mordvilko) (Homoptera: Aphididae), reproduces parthenogenetically in North America and must survive year-round on host plants, including in late summer when small grains are not in cultivation. During this time, cool-season perennial wheatgrasses (Poaceae: Triticeae) contribute substantially to aphid survival, crested wheatgrass (Agropyron spp.) particularly. In greenhouse studies, the number of aphids per plant was measured after four infestation periods on unvernalized and vernalized wheatgrasses. Before placement on these test plant species, aphids were reared either on winter wheat or on the grass host species on which aphid progeny were counted. On vernalized plants, aphids reared on wheat resulted in more aphids per test plant than when the aphids were reared on wheatgrasses, but on unvernalized plants the number of aphids per test plant did not differ significantly regardless of rearing host. Aphids on crested wheatgrass were similar in number to the other grasses when plants were unvernalized. However, when plants were vernalized, crested wheatgrass supported significantly more aphids than some of the other hosts. Aphid numbers increased on all test species as infestation period lengthened, and plant growth was largely unaffected by aphid feeding. These results suggest if sufficient moisture is available during summer when small grains are not in cultivation, all host species observed are capable of sustaining aphids. Crested wheatgrass is an abundant and important host of the Russian wheat aphid in its northern range of the western United States, but other less prevalent wheatgrasses also may contribute to aphid survival during late summer when small grains are not in cultivation.

published proceedings

  • J Econ Entomol

author list (cited authors)

  • Donahue, J. D., Brewer, M. J., & Burd, J. D.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Donahue, JD||Brewer, MJ||Burd, JD

publication date

  • April 2000