Wingless forms of aphids are relatively sedentary, and have a limited ability to migrate or disperse. However, they can drop off hosts or walk away if disturbed or their food quality or quantity become deteriorated. Earlier, we found that the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum (Harris), could use differed strategies to escape danger and locate new host plants. To determine the mechanisms behind the different strategies, we undertook a series of studies, including the aphids’ host location, energy reserves under starvation, glycogenesis, sugar assimilation, olfactory and probing behaviors. We found that in our controlled laboratory conditions, one strain (local laboratory strain) moved longer distances and disperse wider ranges, and correspondingly, these aphids assimilated more sugars, synthesized more glycogen, and moved faster than another strain (collected from Gansu Province, northwestern China). However, the latter strain could locate the host faster, probed leaves more frequently, and identified plant leaves more accurately than the former strain after they were starved. Our results explained how flightless or wingless insects to adapt and fit biotic and abiotic challenges in the complex processes of natural selection.
- Received April 4, 2016.
- Accepted September 11, 2016.
- © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided that the original work is properly attributed.