Characterization of the natural enemy community attacking cotton aphid in the Bt cotton ecosystem in Northern China

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Abstract or Summary

Planting Bt cotton in China since 1997 has led to important changes in the natural enemy communities occurring in cotton, however their specific effect on suppressing the cotton aphids (being notorious in conventional cotton ecosystem) has not been fully documented yet. We observed strong evidence for top-down control of the aphid population, e.g. the control efficiency of natural enemies on cotton aphid increased significantly in open field cages compared to exclusion cages, accounted for 60.2, 87.2 and 76.7% in 2011, 2012 and 2013 season, respectively. The cotton aphid populations peaked in early June to late July (early and middle growth stages) in open field cotton survey from 2011 to 2013. The population densities of cotton aphids and natural enemies were highest on middle growth stage while lowest densities were recorded on late stage for aphids and on early plant stage for natural enemies. Aphid parasitoids (Trioxys spp., Aphidius gifuensis), coccinellids and spiders were key natural enemies of cotton aphid. Briefly, natural enemies can suppress aphid population increase from early to middle plant growth stages by providing biocontrol services in Chinese Bt cotton.

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Characterization of the natural enemy community attacking cotton aphid in the Bt cotton ecosystem in Northern China (held on an external server, and so may require additional authentication details)

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