Original Paper

Arthropod-Plant Interactions

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 21-32

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

The spatial distribution of canopy-resident and ground-resident cereal aphids (Sitobion avenae and Metopolophium dirhodum) in winter wheat

  • Linton WinderAffiliated withDepartment of Natural Sciences, Faculty of Social and Health Sciences, Unitec Institute of Technology Email author 
  • , Colin J. AlexanderAffiliated withBiomathematics and Statistics Scotland, BioSS Office, The James Hutton Institute
  • , Chris WoolleyAffiliated with
  • , Joe N. PerryAffiliated withPlant and Insect Ecology Division, Rothamsted Research
  • , John M. HollandAffiliated withFarmland Ecology Unit, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust


We investigated, within two cereal fields in Southern England, the within-canopy spatial distribution of the aphids Sitobion avenae and Metopolophium dirhodum in relation to crop yield and plant nitrogen. We extended the study to investigate the spatial distribution of aphids that fell to, or returned from, the ground in order to estimate availability of the within-canopy aphid population to ground-active predators. We revealed that crop canopy aphid spatial pattern was associated with nitrogen or yield. Differences were evident between species: S. avenae was generally negatively associated with yield or plant nitrogen, whilst M. dirhodum exhibited positive association. For both aphid species, we observed strong spatial pattern for aphids falling to the ground and conclude that this could, in part, mediate the effectiveness of ground-active predators as pest control agents.


Sitobion avenae Metopolophium dirhodum Fall-off Integrated pest management Cereal Aphid