Positive effects of an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus on aphid life history traits
- Cite this article as:
- Gange, A., Bower, E. & Brown, V. Oecologia (1999) 120: 123. doi:10.1007/s004420050840
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Two generations of two aphid species (Myzus ascalonicus and M. persicae) were reared on Plantago lanceolata plants, with and without root colonization by the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus, Glomus intraradices. Life history traits of the aphids measured were nymphal development time, teneral adult weight, growth rate, total fecundity, adult longevity and duration of post-reproductive life. For both aphids in both generations, mycorrhizal colonization increased aphid weight and fecundity, while other traits were unaffected. The increases were consistent between generations. In a second experiment, M. persicae was reared on plants with and without the fungus, under varying N and P regimes. The results of N addition were inconclusive because there was high aphid mortality. However, under P supplementation, positive effects of the mycorrhiza on aphid growth were seen at low and medium P levels, while at high P levels these effects disappeared. The positive effects of mycorrhizal colonization reported here are contrary to the majority of previous studies with chewing insects, which have reported negative effects. A number of possible mechanisms for this apparent discrepancy are discussed.