The aphid room

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The aphid room is a blog focussed on biology, genetics, genomics and evolution of aphids... including details about thier biology, reproduction and breeding.

Mauro Mandrioli
62 posts

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  • April 19, 2015
  • 03:23 PM

Aphid flight trends follow climate change: a fifty years long analysis!

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

I started to find now on different crops near Modena the first aphid populations… it is not too early neither too late… in respect to the last years. However, it seems that in Italy we started to have aphids earlier on our plants in the last years. Interestingly, a recent papers clearly assessed this trend … Continue reading Aphid flight trends follow climate change: a fifty years long analysis!... Read more »

  • January 25, 2015
  • 05:17 PM

Transferring primary symbionts: a missed link?

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

One of the most studied example of symbiotic interaction is related to aphids and their symbiont Buchnera aphidicola  that they host in specialized cells called bacteriocytes. Each aphid may host about 6 millions of Buchnera cells that are involved in the continuous overproduction of tryptophan and other amino acids. In addition to obligate symbionts, exemplified […]... Read more »

Moran NA, & Yun Y. (2015) Experimental replacement of an obligate insect symbiont. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 25561531  

  • January 22, 2015
  • 11:32 AM

Fertilizers and aphid growth

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

Plant vigour, health and growth rate are intensively managed by farmers to maximize production through the application of nitrogen fertilizers that also influence the growth of phytophagous insect populations because nitrogen is a macronutrient known to be limiting for them. The effects of fertilizers reported in literature are quite controversial since fertilizers can make faster […]... Read more »

  • January 14, 2015
  • 08:00 AM

Defensive symbiosis

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

defensive symbiosis in aphids... Read more »

Moran, N., Degnan, P., Santos, S., Dunbar, H., & Ochman, H. (2005) The players in a mutualistic symbiosis: Insects, bacteria, viruses, and virulence genes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102(47), 16919-16926. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0507029102  

Oliver KM, Russell JA, Moran NA, & Hunter MS. (2003) Facultative bacterial symbionts in aphids confer resistance to parasitic wasps. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 100(4), 1803-7. PMID: 12563031  

  • August 6, 2014
  • 10:50 AM

The secret life of aphid mummies

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

Diaeretiella rapae and Asaphes vulgaris are two insects that lay their eggs within the aphid bodies. In particular, Diaeretiella rapae (a hymenopteran species belonging to Braconidae) is an aphid parasitoid  particularly studied for its attack to the aphid Brevicoryne brassicae, whereas Asaphes vulgaris (a wasp belonging to the family Pteromalidae) is a secondary insect parasitoids that develop at the expense of […]... Read more »

  • July 2, 2014
  • 09:16 AM

Neonicotinoids? An unacceptable danger for biodiversity

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

Neonicotinoids and fipronil are currently highly used insecticides applied in different cases, including seed coating, bathing, foliar spray applications and trunk injection. These compounds are commonly used for insect pest management since they are very effective due to their disruption of the neural transmission in the central nervous system of organisms. Indeed, neonicotinoids bind to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) , whereas […]... Read more »

J. P. van der Sluijs,, V. Amaral-Rogers,, L. P. Belzunces,, M. F. I. J. Bijleveld van Lexmond,, & et al. (2014) Conclusions of the Worldwide Integrated Assessment on the risks of neonicotinoids and fipronil to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. info:/10.1007/s11356-014-3229-5

  • May 13, 2014
  • 11:42 AM

Listening to plants to reduce the use of pesticides

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

More than 40 years ago James Mallet published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution a paper entitled “The Evolution of insecticide resistance: have the insects won?”  where he stated at the end of the paper: The insects have won for the moment in tropical malaria control, and they seem to be winning in cotton, among a […]... Read more »

  • January 27, 2014
  • 11:07 AM

Associative learning and aphid predation

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

When attacked by a natural enemy, aphids can use different alternative tactics that include raising and swiveling of the body, kicking, dropping off from the host  and smearing the attacker with cornicle secretions. As reported in literature, droplets of aphid cornicle secretion can clot the mouthparts of predators and function to dispense alarm pheromones. When alarm pheromones […]... Read more »

  • January 24, 2014
  • 09:36 AM

Early warning for invasive pest crops and citizen science

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

Since crop domestication, multiple plant pests and pathogens spread in the world affecting the global food security. Insects are also acting as dangerous “invasive” species and global warming stimulates insects at higher latitudes, primarily through their winter  increased survival. In some cases, this is the result of a natural migration, but several pests have been […]... Read more »

  • October 23, 2013
  • 04:09 PM

Guests in aphid room… the emerald ash borer Agrilus planipennis

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

The emerald ash borer Agrilus planipennis is a small beetle belonging to Buprestidae. This species is native to north-east China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Mongolia, where it behaves as a minor secondary pest. On the contrary, in the last years it has been identified as the cause of extensive dieback and death of native ash trees, […]... Read more »

  • October 18, 2013
  • 04:32 PM

Do you prefer nectar or aphid honeydew?

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

The ecological success of ants depends on their ability to adjust their foraging strategies to both resources and environmental constraints. Indeed, many food-related factors influence the ants’ behaviour, such as the quality of the honeydew or nectar, the density of aphids, the spatial distribution of resources and the distance to the food. Even if ants […]... Read more »

  • September 6, 2013
  • 12:16 PM

Crop pest insects and global warming

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

Looking in the web, I found the citation of a very intriguing paper entitled “Crop pests and pathogen move polewards in a warming world” where Daniel P. Bebber, Mark A. T. Ramotowski and Sarah J. Gurr analyzed 612 crop pests and pathogens (including insects) from around the world that had been collected over the past 50 years. According to this […]... Read more »

Daniel P. Bebber, Mark A. T. Ramotowski, Sarah J. Gurr. (2013) Crop pests and pathogens move polewards in a warming world. Nature Climate Change. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1990  

  • August 26, 2013
  • 07:33 AM

Guests in the aphid room… the brown marmorated stink bug Halyomorpha halys

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

Sometimes you are looking for some insects and you found other species… more interesting. Some days ago in the late afternoon I was taking some photos of ladybirds on plants near Modena when I met a male of the species  Halyomorpha halys. The brown marmorated stink bug H. halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) is native to North and South […]... Read more »

  • August 22, 2013
  • 10:20 AM

Mycorrhizal networks warning plants of aphid attack!

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi form common symbioses with many plants, favouring plant mineral nutrient uptake and enhancing tolerance to root  pathogens  and drought. The fungi involved in mycorrhizal symbioses are not plant-specific so that their external mycelia can produce the so-called ‘common mycelial networks’ that connect the roots of different plant species, as well as individuals of the […]... Read more »

  • May 2, 2013
  • 11:50 AM

Waste water and insect life… or better… insect death!

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

Neonicotinoids are neuro-active insecticides which derive their toxicity to target species from acting mainly agonistically on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) on the post-synaptic membrane. This means that normal nerve impulses become impaired. Among neonicotinoids, imidacloprid shows a selective toxicity for insects or at least it should! An interesting research, published by Tessa C. Van Dijk, Marja A. […]... Read more »

  • May 2, 2013
  • 09:11 AM

Replacing bacterial symbionts with a fungal symbiont… unusual changes in aphids!

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

Current models of bacterial genome evolution suggest that in small populations a burst of transposable element activity may lead to inactivation of non-essential genes and large deletions, followed by erosion of the pseudogenes resulting in genome reduction. Due to this process, the smallest sequenced cellular genomes are all obligate intracellular symbionts of insects. Interestingly, it seems that the [...]... Read more »

  • April 30, 2013
  • 07:19 PM

Leave aphids on your plants to preserve your children!

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

Aphids are frequently controlled by chemical compounds so that it could be not so unusual that you may interact with insecticides, for instance, after a general treatment of your home for spiders, insects or termites. A new study published by Elizabeth Milne et al. in the journal Cancer Causes & Control  reveals that women exposed within a year of [...]... Read more »

Greenop KR, Peters S, Bailey HD, Fritschi L, Attia J, Scott RJ, Glass DC, de Klerk NH, Alvaro F, Armstrong BK.... (2013) Exposure to pesticides and the risk of childhood brain tumors. Cancer causes . PMID: 23558445  

  • February 22, 2013
  • 03:34 PM

Growing fast without zero population growth genes

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

If you had aphids on your plants, you have undoubtedly verified their fast growing rate. Indeed, aphids can reproduce quickly and it has been calculated that under ideal conditions (such as absence of predators, parasites, pathogens and benign climatic conditions, especially including optimal temperatures of 20 -25 °C), a single asexual female could in theory [...]... Read more »

  • February 9, 2013
  • 03:31 PM

Aphid? An insect falling like a cat!

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

Aphids are wingless individuals (just some of them have wings) that live on leaves and face their predators and parasitoids simply by dropping off plants. Indeed, in order to avoid immediate dangers, aphids do not have any aggressive behaviour, but they simply jump from the plants landing on their legs, regardless of their initial orientation on [...]... Read more »

  • February 1, 2013
  • 04:27 PM

Insects are still waiting for their quadruplex DNA!

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

A recent paper by Biffi et al. reported in Nature Chemistry clear evidence about the presence and quantitative visualization of DNA G-quadruplex structures in human chromosomes. Contrarily to what reported in several newspapers, the main result of this paper is not related to the occurrence of G-quadruplexes in human cells, but to their identification and [...]... Read more »

Oganesian L, & Bryan TM. (2007) Physiological relevance of telomeric G-quadruplex formation: a potential drug target. BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology, 29(2), 155-65. PMID: 17226803  

Smith JS, Chen Q, Yatsunyk LA, Nicoludis JM, Garcia MS, Kranaster R, Balasubramanian S, Monchaud D, Teulade-Fichou MP, Abramowitz L.... (2011) Rudimentary G-quadruplex-based telomere capping in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Nature structural , 18(4), 478-85. PMID: 21399640  

Wu Y, & Brosh RM Jr. (2010) G-quadruplex nucleic acids and human disease. The FEBS journal, 277(17), 3470-88. PMID: 20670277  

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