Letter | Published:

Effect of the Plant Alkaloid Sparteine on the Distribution of the Aphid Acyrthosiphon spartii (Koch.)

Naturevolume 212pages213214 (1966) | Download Citation



HOST selection in aphids seems to occur mainly after alightment but little is known, apart from the probing response, of the stimuli or receptors involved1,2. In an investigation of a natural population of Acyrthosiphon spartii (Koch.) on broom (Sarothamnus scoparius L.) over 3 years, adults were observed to change their feeding sites as the seed pods enlarged and this coincided with the movement of the alkaloid sparteine between various plant organs. As the petals fell many adults and some fourth instar aphids left the stems and leaves and moved on to the pods where feeding and reproduction recommenced. This movement was not a result of overcrowding because at that time there was adequate surface area on the stems and leaves.

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    Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Bull. on Poisonous Plants (1954).

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  1. University of Bristol Research Station, Long Ashton, Bristol

    • B. D. SMITH


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