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Data from: Effects of aphid parasitism on host plant fitness in an aphid-host relationship.


Watanabe, Saori; Murakami, Yuuka; Hasegawa, Eisuke (2019), Data from: Effects of aphid parasitism on host plant fitness in an aphid-host relationship., Dryad, Dataset,


Aphids are serious agricultural insect pests which exploit the phloem sap of host plants and thus transmit pathogens to their hosts. However, the degree to which aphid parsitism affects the fitness of the host plants is not well understood. The aphid, Macrosiphoniella yomogicola, parasitizes the mugwort Artemisia montana in Japan. During summer most mugworts carry aphids, but most aphid colonies die out after the budding of A. montana inflorescences in late summer. A few aphid colonies survive to late autumn, at which point sexuparae appear to later lay overwintering eggs after copulation. The death of the aphid colonies seems to cause by biochemical changes in the phloem sap in the host plant coincident with the budding of inflorescences. The surviving aphid colonies may suppress the budding of inflorescences to allow persistence of their genetic line into the following year. Our investigations demonstrate that aphid parasitism did not affect host plant growth, but that it did significantly decrease the number of inflorescences and the average weight of floral buds. Our results indicate that aphid parasitism has a strong negative effect on the fitness of host plants. The manner in which the aphids suppress floral budding in their hosts is worth examining from the perspective of the evolution of aphid-plant interactions.

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