Plum pox, an invasive disease recently identified in Pennsylvania stone fruit orchards, is caused by the aphid-transmitted Plum pox virus (genus Potyvirus, family Potyviridae, PPV). To identify potential vectors, we described the aphid species communities and the seasonal dynamics of the dominant aphid species within Pennsylvania peach orchards. Aphids were trapped weekly in 2002 and 2003 from mid-April through mid-November within two central Pennsylvania orchards by using yellow and green water pan traps. In total, 42 aphid species were identified from both orchards over 2 yr. Within orchards, actual species richness ranged from 24 to 30 species. The Abundance Based Coverage Estimator predicted species richness to range from 30 to 36 species, indicating that trap catches were identifying most aphid species expected to occur in the orchard. Three species, Rhopalosiphum maidis (Fitch), Aphis spiraecola Patch, and Myzus persicae (Sulzer), were consistently dominant across locations and years. Orchard-trapped populations of these three species peaked in a similar chronological sequence each year. As expected, trap color influenced the total number and distribution of the predominate species collected. However, the same dominant species occurred in both yellow and green traps. Based on the seasonal population dynamics reported here and on published vector efficacy studies, the most probable significant PPV vector was identified as A. spiraecola. If the PPV pathogen escapes current quarantine or if subsequent reintroductions of PPV occur, these data will be useful for developing plum pox management strategies.
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Vol. 98 • No. 5