Living With Aphid Virus Transmission

Red Aphids

Red Aphids

Blood sucking insects are responsible for substantial virus and disease transmission in animals. Plant sucking insects are responsible for substantial virus and disease transmission in plants. Aphids feed by inserting their sucking mouthparts into the phloem of their host plant. When drilling through the plant tissue, the aphids secrete saliva to build a sheath around their mouthparts and secrete saliva into the phloem itself.

Some plant viruses are primarily transmitted by aphids. These viruses reproduce in the plants. During aphid feeding, the viruses pass into the gut of the aphid. The viruses have adaptations for crossing the gut of the aphid, passing into the aphid hemolymph (insect blood) and accumulating in the salivary glands of the aphid. When aphids move from an infected plant, they can transit the virus to an uninfected plant. Many devastating virus diseases of plants require a combination of insect control and breaking the cycle of virus transmission.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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