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Density, distribution, and nutritional quality of plants are the causal basis of host plant selection in aphids. Nutritional qualities of a plant vary according to its growth stage and also in response to seasonal variation. How host plant growth stages shape aphid performance was studied in Aphis spiraecola Patch (Homoptera: Aphididae) on the perennial Siam weed, Chromolaena odorata (L.) King and Robinson (Asterales: Asteraceae). This plant species is the preferred host in the hot and humid tropical parts of northeast and southern India. Variations in developmental and reproductive performances in apterous viviparous female aphids were recorded in relation to differences in leaf chemicals in different growth stages of C. odorata. Aphids reproduced at higher rates in the vegetative stage of C. odorata when developmental time was shortest, and fecundity was higher in a longer reproductive time. Intrinsic rate of increase and net reproductive rate were also recorded to be higher in the vegetative stage of the weed host. In the vegetative stage, leaves contained higher quantity of proteins and nitrogen, which are vital for insect reproduction. Results of this study have demonstrated that A spiraecola showed synchronization of its developmental and reproductive performances to growth stages of C. odorata, which occur in high abundance in the study area.
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