After its recent introduction to Chile, the aphid Chaitophorus leucomelas Koch is becoming a serious pest affecting commercial poplar, Populus spp., plantations. The pattern of natural infestation of C. leucomelas among poplar hybrids with different pedigrees and the aphid intrinsic rate of increase (rm), of C. leucomelas were assessed in the field. In most of the hybrids, aphid abundance peaked in March (late summer). Among 12 types of poplar crosses, [(P. trichocarpa Torr. & Gray × P. deltoides Bartram ex Marshall) × (P. trichocarpa × P. deltoides)] and [(P. trichocarpa × P. maximowiczii Henry) × P. maximowiczii] showed the highest and lowest aphid densities, respectively. A trend to find more aphids in branch bases was apparent. The intrinsic rate of C. leucomelas increase was higher in [(P. trichocarpa × P. deltoides) × P. deltoides] hybrids, and lower in [(P. trichocarpa × P. maximowiczii) × P. trichocarpa] hybrids. Aphid density and performance were higher in hybrids with P. deltoides parentage, whereas hybrids with P. maximowiczii parentage showed lower aphid densities and performance. Hybrids with P. nigra L. parentage, namely, [P. trichocarpa × P. nigra], also had high aphid density, but aphid performance was lower compared with hybrids with P. deltoides parentage. These results suggest that among poplar hybrids studied, susceptibility to C. leucomelas is inherited through P. deltoides, whereas resistance seems to be inherited through P. maximowiczii. Thus, P. maximowiczii hybrids are recommended for commercial or ornamental planting programs in zones where there is a high risk of aphid infestation.
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Vol. 97 • No. 6