Journal of Pest Science

, Volume 83, Issue 1, pp 9–14 | Cite as

Life table and population parameters of cowpea aphid, Aphis craccivora Koch (Homoptera: Aphididae) on five cowpea Vigna unguiculata (L. Walp.) varieties

  • Motshwari ObopileEmail author
  • Baitheri Ositile
Original Paper


The cowpea aphid, Aphis craccivora Koch, is an important pest of cowpea Vigna unguiculata (L. Walp.) in most tropical regions where cowpea is grown. We used life table and population parameters of the cowpea aphids reared on five cowpea varieties to assess the degree of host plant resistance. The five varieties were Blackeye, B005-C, INIA-37, IT835-720-20 and TVX3671-14C-OID. The parameters measured were fecundity, survival, intrinsic rate of natural increase, pre-reproductive period and relative growth rate of cowpea aphids. Our hypothesis was that cowpea varieties resistant to A. craccivora would have significant effects on life table parameters of the aphid when compared to a susceptible variety. Mean fecundity, age-specific fecundity, survival rates, intrinsic rate of natural increase (r m), pre-reproductive period and relative growth rate differed significantly among varieties. Fecundity, survival, intrinsic rate of natural increase and mean relative growth rate were significantly lower on variety IT835-720-20 compared to susceptible variety Blackeye. The pre-reproductive period was significantly delayed on variety IT835-720-20 compared to other varieties. The adverse effects of variety IT835-720-20 on life table parameters of A. craccivora indicate the presence of host plant resistance. Prolonged pre-reproductive period and reduction in reproductive performance of A. craccivora on variety IT835-720-20 may suggest that antibiosis is the modality of resistance. However, further detailed studies that include determination of biochemical and morphological characteristics that mediate resistance need to be carried out. IT835-720-20 is, therefore, a promising variety with useful genetic resource for cowpea breeding programs aimed at developing resistant varieties against A. craccivora.


Aphis craccivora Fecundity Population parameters Survival Vigna unguiculata 



This study was supported by funds from the Botswana Ministry of Education and the Botswana College of Agriculture. We thank the Department of Agricultural Research for supplying the seed of cowpea varieties used in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Crop Science and ProductionBotswana College of AgricultureGaboroneBotswana
  2. 2.Department of Entomology, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development CentreThe Ohio State UniversityWoosterUSA

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