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Research Project: Management of Aphids Attacking Cereals

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Title: Population genetics of the sugarcane aphid, Melanaphis sacchari (Zehntner), in the continental US

item HOLT, JOCELYN - Texas A&M University
item Armstrong, John
item HARRISON, KYLE - Texas A&M University
item MEDINA, RAUL - Texas A&M University

Submitted to: Entomological Society of America, Southwestern and Southeastern Branch
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/23/2016
Publication Date: 3/1/2016
Citation: Holt, J.R., Armstrong, J.S., Harrison, K., Medina, R. 2016. Population genetics of the sugarcane aphid, Melanaphis sacchari (Zehntner), in the continental US [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 64th Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Branch of the Entomological Society of America, February 22-25, 2016, Tyler, TX. p. 25. Available online:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The sugarcane aphid (SCA), Melanaphis sacchari, was reported as a damaging pest of sorghum in the United States (U.S.) for the first time in 2013. However, this aphid is not new to the U.S. Since 1920s up until 2013 SCA have occurred on sugarcane in Florida and later in Louisiana, causing minimal damage to this crop. Soon after SCA populations were reported in U.S. sorghum, this pest rapidly expanded its range across the southern region. Today, SCA can be found from Texas to Florida and causes average estimated yield loss of between 20 to 30% when uncontrolled. In order to fully understand what may have caused the host-switch from sugarcane to sorghum the population genetics of SCA on its three most common host plants (i.e., sorghum, sugarcane, and Johnson grass) was characterized across its distribution in the continental U.S. Using AFLPs, no significant genetic differences were detected among populations on different host-plants or geographic locations. These findings agree with previous work on this aphid that has found them to occur as superclones over broad geographic regions.