Plant penetration by the stylets of six clones of the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, on Vicia faba (acceptable to all clones) and Pisum sativum (acceptable to 3/6 clones) was investigated by the DC electrical penetration graph technique. In a 10 h recording period, 93% of 144 aphids exhibited sustained feeding on phloem sap. Significant interclonal differences were observed for the incidence of potential drops (indicative of brief punctures of plant cells) and the duration of waveform E1 (insect salivation into a sieve element). In addition, the total duration of the sieve element phase and the duration of completed ‘bouts’ of sustained feeding differed between the two test plants, in a fashion varying between clones. However, these differences could not be related to the acceptability of plants to the different aphid clones. The duration of the stylet pathway phase preceding the first sustained feeding on phloem sap did not vary significantly with either aphid clone or plant. It is concluded that the resistance of P. sativum to certain A. pisum clones does not arise from factors impeding either stylet penetration through the plant tissues or the maintenance of feeding from the sieve elements. It is proposed that host plant affiliation of A. pisum may be mediated primarily by specific olfactory or gustatory cues, before the aphid initiates stylet penetration of the plant.