Population fluctuations in complex life cycles: an example from Pemphigus aphids

N. A. Moran, T. G. Whitham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Manipulations of conditions and long-term data on abundances were used to investigate the bases of year-to-year fluctuations in population size in the aphid Pemphigus betae, which has a complex life cycle. Spring generations may live in leaf galls on cottonwood Populus trees, whereas summer generations obligately inhabit roots of herbaceous Rumex and Chenopodium species. Soil moisture affects aphid survival and reproduction on roots. The importance of this single factor in governing population size is further supported by 6 yr of gall-density and weather data showing a strong relationship between gall abundance and the amount of rainfall the previous season. Weather affects success on summer hosts and consequently determines numbers of migrants returning to cottonwoods and gall abundances during the subsequent spring. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1214-1218
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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