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Yo, aphid, I’m red and I’m bad

Aphids don’t fare as well on apple trees with leaves that turn red in the fall

Compare apples with apples, a researcher says, and red leaves on fall fruit trees look like they may be a warning to aphids.

Most domesticated varieties of apple trees don’t flare into red foliage in the fall, but a few do — as do their wild relatives, says Marco Archetti of Harvard University. Archetti used that color variety to test whether autumn reds signal trees with robust chemical defenses against pests.

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