What’s Eating the Aphids?

Red Aphids

Red Aphids

Entomologists who study predator prey interactions must find creative ways to identify the predators. A single crop such as wheat can have over 100 taxa that are potential predators. Which species eat aphids and which do not? The answer to this question is made easier by modern DNA techniques. The aphid, Rhopalosiphum padi, has unique DNA sequences that survive in the gut of predators. It is possible to analyze the gut contents of predators and determine whether or not they contain Rhopalosiphum padi DNA. In one study, 25% of the predators in the system had traces of Rhopalosiphum padi DNA. Some species were not previously known to be aphid predators. One method of aphid control is to augment the aphid predator population. Once identified, the predators can be further investigated for their potential to control population outbreaks.

Beth A. Choate, Jonathan G. Lundgren. 2015. Invertebrate communities in spring wheat and the identification of cereal aphid predators through molecular gut content analysis. Crop Protection. 77: 110-118 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cropro.2015.07.021.

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.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Environment, Pest Management. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What’s Eating the Aphids?

  1. Pingback: What’s Eating the Aphids? | Entomo Planet

  2. Pingback: What’s Eating the Aphids? | Entomo Planet

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