Bulletin of Entomological Research

Research Article

Influence of temperature on pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum (Hemiptera: Aphididae) resistance to natural enemy attack

D.A. Staceya1 and M.D.E. Fellowesa1a2 c1

a1 NERC Centre for Population Biology, Imperial College at Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7PY, UK

a2 School of Animal and Microbial Sciences, University of Reading, PO Box 228, Whiteknights, Reading, Berkshire, RG6 6AJ, UK


The ability to resist or avoid natural enemy attack is a critically important insect life history trait, yet little is understood of how these traits may be affected by temperature. This study investigated how different genotypes of the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum Harris, a pest of leguminous crops, varied in resistance to three different natural enemies (a fungal pathogen, two species of parasitoid wasp and a coccinellid beetle), and whether expression of resistance was influenced by temperature. Substantial clonal variation in resistance to the three natural enemies was found. Temperature influenced the number of aphids succumbing to the fungal pathogen Erynia neoaphidis Remaudière & Hennebert, with resistance increasing at higher temperatures (18 vs. 28°C). A temperature difference of 5°C (18 vs. 23°C) did not affect the ability of A. pisum to resist attack by the parasitoids Aphidius ervi Haliday and A. eadyi Starý, González & Hall. Escape behaviour from foraging coccinellid beetles (Hippodamia convergens Guerin-Meneville) was not directly influenced by aphid clone or temperature (16 vs. 21°C). However, there were significant interactions between clone and temperature (while most clones did not respond to temperature, one was less likely to escape at 16°C), and between aphid clone and ladybird presence (some clones showed greater changes in escape behaviour in response to the presence of foraging coccinellids than others). Therefore, while larger temperature differences may alter interactions between Acyrthosiphon pisum and an entomopathogen, there is little evidence to suggest that smaller changes in temperature will alter pea aphid–natural enemy interactions.

(Accepted March 28 2002)


c1 *Fax: +44 (0118) 931 0180 E-mail: m.fellowes@reading.ac.uk