Pepper mottling is an endemic and important disease of pepper in Ethiopia. It is caused by non-persistently aphid transmitted Ethiopian Pepper Mottle Virus(EPMV) (Potyvirus, Potyviridae). The disease occurs at epidemic level in the region. The exact roles of aphid vectors in the field epidemiology of the virus are not known. Identifying the roles of aphid vectors is useful in forecasting the epidemics of the disease. Therefore, the present studies were conducted to identify species composition and potential of aphids as vectors of EPMV. Aphids were trapped in yellow pan traps, at weekly intervals from April 2006 to March 2007 at two different locations. More than 10 aphid species were identified, of whichMyzus persicae and Lipaphis erysimi were consistently dominant across locations and seasons. Schoutedenia ramulensis and Tetraneura spp. were location specific, while Hayhurstia atriplicis, Hypermzus lactucae, Schoutedenia ramulensis and Tetraneura spp. are reported for the first time from Ethiopia. Most of the identified species were non-colonizers and seven aphid species collected from field were able to transmit EPMV. The information generated has implications for the development of EPMV disease management strategies.
Key words: Aphids, Ethiopian Pepper Mottle Virus, pepper, vector.
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