Occurrence of target-site resistance to neonicotinoids in the aphid Myzus persicae in Tunisia, and its status on different host plants
BACKGROUND: The R81T mutation conferring target-site resistance to neonicotinoid insecticides in Myzus persicae was first detected in France and has since spread across much of southern Europe. In response to recent claims of control failure with neonicotinoids in Tunisia, we have used a molecular assay to investigate the presence and distribution of this target-site mutation in samples collected from six locations and six crops attacked by M. persicae. RESULTS: The resistance allele containing R81T was present at substantial frequencies (32–55%) in aphids collected between 2014 and 2016 from northern Tunisia but was much rarer further south. It occurred in aphids collected from the aphid's primary host (peach) and four secondary crop hosts (potato, pepper, tomato and melon). Its absence in aphids from tobacco highlights complexities in the systematics of M. persicae that require further investigation. CONCLUSION: This first report of R81T from North Africa reflects a continuing expansion of its range around the Mediterranean Basin, although it remains unrecorded elsewhere in the world. Loss of efficacy of neonicotinoids presents a serious threat to the sustainability of aphid control.