Alyokhin, A., F. A. Drummond, G. Sewell, and R. H. Storch. 2011. Differential effects of weather and natural enemies on coexisting aphid populations. Environmental Entomology 40: 570-580.

Study of mechanisms responsible for regulating populations of living organisms is essential for a better comprehension of the structure of biological communities and evolutionary forces in nature. Aphids (Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha) comprise a large and economically important group of phytophagous insects distributed worldwide. Previous studies determined that density dependent mechanisms play an important role in regulating their populations. However, only a few of those studies identified specific factors responsible for the observed regulation. Time series data used in this study originated from the untreated control plots that were a part of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) insecticide trials in northern Maine from 1971 to 2004. The data set contained information on population densities of three potato-colonizing aphid species (buckthorn aphid, Aphis nasturtii; potato aphid, Macrosiphum euphorbiae; and green peach aphid, Myzus persicae) and their natural enemies. We used path analysis to explore effects of weather and natural enemies on the intrinsic growth rates of aphid populations. Weather factors considered in our analyses contributed to the regulation of aphid populations, either directly or through natural enemies. However, direct weather effects were in most cases detectable only at P<0.10. Potato aphids were negatively affected by both fungal disease and predators, although buckthorn aphids were negatively affected by predators only. Parasitoids did not have a noticeable effect on the growth of any of the three aphid species. Growth of green peach aphid populations was negatively influenced by interspecific interactions with the other two aphid species. Differential population regulation mechanisms detected in the current study might at least partially explain coexistence of three ecologically similar aphid species sharing the same host plant.