Population dynamics, parasites and predators, with particular reference to the Peach-Potato aphid, Myzus persicae (Sulzer), on Brussels Sprouts in the Edinburgh area
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Investigations were carried out on the seasonal changes of aphids, particularly Myzus persicae (Sulz.), on hrussels sprouts and the importance of their natural enemies, from autumn 1968 to spring 1971 in the area around Edinburgh. M. persicae overwintered anholocyclically on weeds, particularly on dock plants, hut rarely on brassica crops. Plants in glasshouses also provided overwintering sites for M. persicae and Macrosiphum euphorbiae (Thomas). These aphids started gradually to infest the brussels sprout plants during the end of June in a constant but irregular movement. Both M. persicae and M.euphorbiae have no fixed patterns of population changes throughout the field nor from year to year. During early July the initially low densities of M. persicae and M. euphorbiae populations increased fast. By early August parasitism and predation increased; condensation of water droplets on the aphids also appeared in August and drowned some of them. Subsequently these mortality factors caused a sharp decline of the first peak of M. persicae abundance, and complete disappearance of H. euphorbiae from the field by mid-September. Favourable weather and reduced activities of natural enemies caused another peak of M. persicae to be reached in September. A slight drop in abundance occurred again, due mainly to parasitism; the third and last peak of a season appeared during late October and early November. The fall of this peak was attributed to the cold weather which reduced the rate of reproduction and hastened the abscission of bottom leaves which carried the aphid population. Eighteen species in eight genera of aphid parasites and at least eight species in five genera of hyperparasites were recorded. All the eleven species of primary parasites and five genera containing at least eight species of hyperparasites noted as parasites of M. persioae; and fifteen species of primary parasites and five genera of at least eight species of the hyperparasites listed tinder M. euphorbias were first records of any such parasites in Scotland. The M. persicae records as aphid host of seven species of primary parasites and two genera of at least three species of hyperparasites; and M. euphorbiae also as an aphid host of seven species of primary parasites and two genera of at least four species of hyperparasites were new records in Britain. Three and four species of primary parasites listed respectively under M, persicae and M. euphorbiae as aphid host were found to he new records in the general literature. Praon volucre (Hal.) was the dominant species of the primary parasites followed by Diaeretiella rapae Mcintosh and Aphidius picipes (Hees) which were about half and one third as numerous as the dominat species.Asaphes vulgaris Walker was the dominant species of the hyperparasites with cynipids about equally abundant. Some aspects of the bionomics of hyperparasites and primary parasites, particularly P. volucre, were given. Factors which limited the effectiveness of the parasites, particularly P. volucre, included 1. the fast developmental rate and the lower threshold of the aphid host (M, persicae) as compared to that of thep parasite (P. volucre). 2. hyperparasitism; - in 1969 and 1970 aphids on brussels sprouts were hyperparasitised respectively to the extent of 39.4% and 46.9% 3. harvesting of brassica crops during autumn which destroyed some of the aphid mummies and the aphid populations which could be parasitised to increase the numbers of the overwintering mummies. 4. overwintering of the parasites which started during late summer and early autumn while the aphid hosts were reproducing.