Although Melanaphis sacchari Zehntner (Hemiptera: Aphididae) is known worldwide for its injury to sugarcane, Saccharum officinarum L., and sorghum, Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench, M. sacchari is reported to infest several plants in the family Poaceae, including important agronomic crops. It is not clear how M. sacchari interacts with other crops in the Louisiana agroecoscape but there is potential for these plants to be bridging hosts prior to sorghum colonization. Thus, this study determined the population dynamics of M. sacchari on sugarcane, sorghum, rice (Oryza sativa L.), sweetpotato (Ipomea batatas L.), maize (Zea mays L.), Johnsongrass (S. halepense L.), and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) using life table studies. Melanaphis sacchari was able to complete its life cycle on sorghum, sugarcane, rice, and wheat, having the highest intrinsic rate of increase (rm) on sorghum (0.466). Population growth was negative on rice (rm = –0.020) and intermediately positive on sugarcane and Johnsongrass. The results demonstrate that there is the potential for multiple host use within the agricultural landscape. Using the information collected from this study, population estimations on host plants demonstrate that M. sacchari populations will increase more rapidly on sorghum than on the other host plants.
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Vol. 48 • No. 4