In glasshouse pot experiments in the United Kingdom, the host preference of nine seed samples of Alectra vogelii from Eastern, Western and Southern Africa and of two samples of A. picta from Cameroon and Ethiopia, to cultivars of cowpea, groundnut, bambara and mung bean, was assessed. A susceptible cowpea cultivar, Blackeye, and four cultivars of groundnut were attacked by all samples of both parasitic species regardless of whether the host of origin was cowpea, groundnut or bambara.
Five “strains” of A. vogelii were distinguished using two criteria: their ability to parasitise bambara and/or mung bean and their ability to parasitise cowpea B301 and bambara TVU 870. The latter proved in an associated experiment to be resistant to collections of the parasite from some locations. Strain 1, including populations from Mali, Nigeria and Cameroon, attacked all groundnuts, cowpea cultivar Blackeye, but not cowpea line B301, mung bean or bambara. Strain 2, from Botswana, differed in attacking B301 and mung bean. Three other strains were identified which attacked susceptible lines of all four legume species. Strain 3 from Kenya failed to attack either cowpea B301 or bambara TVU 870, strain 4 from Malawi attacked cowpea B301, but not bambara TVU 870, while strain 5 from Northern Transvaal, South Africa, attacked bambara TVU 870, but not cowpea B301. Cowpea B359 was resistant to A. vogelii samples from all locations and also to A. picta, which has a similar host preference to strain 1 populations of A. vogelii from West Africa. Two out of 13 groundnut lines tested showed low susceptibility to A. vogelii from Cameroon suggesting there is scope for selecting resistance in this crop also.
Annals of Applied Biology (1992) 121 (2) 361-370 [DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7348.1992.tb03449.x]