Preference of cereal aphids for different varieties of winter wheat
This paper reports on the development of a simple and robust preference meter (developed in-house) to score the host choice behavior of apterous aphids. With this tool, the preferences of two important cereal aphids Sitobion avenae (Fab.) and Metopolophium dirhodum (Walker) were investigated against four different varieties of winter wheat ( Triticum aestivum L.) with a different susceptibility for Fusarium head blight (FHB). Differences in the choice behavior of both aphid species were observed for different wheat varieties. The preferred wheat variety of S. avenae and M. dirhodum was not the same. Also, both aphid species clearly had a differential preference for seedlings and ears. Using seedlings, M. dirhodum was about 1.8 times more rapid in making its choice than S. avenae . In separate experiments with ears, S. avenae was 4.5 times faster than in the experiments with seedlings. In the present study, we aim to highlight differences in preference behavior in relation to potential mechanisms for host selection.