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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

2008 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The three general objectives of this project are: (1) to conduct systematic studies on plant pests (including invasive species)and beneficial insect groups of importance to U.S. agriculture; (2) to develop electronic resources to enhance technology transfer of research products via the web; and (3) to provide expert identification and curatorial services. Specific groups to be examined include leafroller moths (Tortricidae), cutworm moths (Noctuidae), snout moths (Crambidae), true bugs (Miridae), and leafhoppers (Cicadellidae). Knowledge of their classification and relationships is essential for accurate identification, for assessing host specificity for potential biological control agents, and for developing hypotheses of which species have the greatest likelihood of invading and establishing within the U.S. The project will supply authoritative identifications to action agencies and other customers and curatorial care for the National Insect Collection.

1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The proposed research uses morphological, biological, biogeographical, and molecular data to classify and characterize difficult groups that are considered either pests (owing to their plant-feeding habit or ability to vector plant pathogens) or beneficials (owing to their predatory habits or their selective herbivory on noxious weeds). To capture data we will use a combination of light and scanning electron microscopy, computer aided character analysis and phylogeny estimation, molecular characterization of mitochondrial and nuclear genes, and digital imaging and photography. Specimens for analysis will be acquired from a variety of sources including exploration and field work and borrowing material from other major institutions, and will be accomplished through cooperation with colleagues and collaborators worldwide. The research products will be incorporated into web-based tools for the broadest dissemination of the information.

3.Progress Report
Resolve all species-level problems in North American Heliothinae. The main species groups of North American heliothine moths were defined last year; this year nearly all species-level problems have been resolved through a combination of field work, dissections, and correlations with host plants.

Complete re-description and diagnoses for 5 genera of North American Cochylini. Draft diagnoses/descriptions of Phtheochroa, Thyraylia, Platphalonidia, Eugnosta, Rolandylis, and Nycthia were added to the growing manuscript on North American Cochylini.

Complete draft descriptions and diagnoses of described and undescribed species for revision of Herpetogramma. Critical to the description of these moth specimens is the study of the type specimens upon which the scientific name is based. We were unable to procure type specimens due to the unavailability of funds to travel to and lending policies and inaccessibility during a move of The Natural History Museum, London.

Complete diagnoses and descriptions of new species of Diatraea. Diagnoses and descriptions of new sugarcane moth species were completed.

Complete diagnoses and descriptions of all species for monograph of new World Isometopinae. Keys and generic and known plant bug species descriptions were completed.

Complete identification of monophyletic genera of remaining North American Ceratocapsini. Descriptions, illustrations of male genitalia, and most SEMs for 50 plant bug species and seven genera were completed; outline, literature review, generic interpretations including new genera, and species checklists were completed for the North American and Central American fauna, and all known species are identified and labeled.

Complete draft descriptions of all species of Acrogonia. Draft descriptions of all leafhopper species currently in preparation.

Complete capture of data on leafroller food plants from reared specimens from major collections. Limited funds prohibited travel to South African museums to record leafroller food plant records. However, over 150 new host records were added based on specimens submitted for identification by biological control laboratories and from a project focused on rearing insects from native fruit in Kenya.

Complete on-line and hard-copy checklists for the remaining families of leafhoppers (ca. 0,000 species). Leafhoppers of the Deltocephalinae and Typhlocybinae, together comprising about 13,000 species, will require more time to catalogue than anticipated. However, the Deltocephalinae catalogue will be completed this FY and Typhlocybinae next year.

Track down original descriptions for Sesiidae. Upon the completion of this clear-wing moth family, the type catalog for microlepidoptera is complete except for the single family Cossidae; and the catalog was translated from text files to database format.

Provide expert identifications for customers and stakeholders, and maintain and enhance the National Insect Collection. Hundreds of URGENT (same day) identifications and thousands of routine identifications were made by the scientists.

This work is part of National Program 304, component 1.

1. True bugs as pests and predators, conservation biology role, and indicators of global warming. Completed invited book chapter on “Heteropteran Biodiversity,” which includes a diagnosis, estimate on the number of species, and highlights on hosts and habits for all 89 true bug families, with a discussion on their importance as pests and predators, and their role in conservation biology and as indicators of global warming. Since true bugs include many serious pests of agricultural importance, this information will benefit all who are interested in their taxonomy and systematics, control, ecology, life history, pest exclusion, and pest management including horticulturists, quarantine specialists, extension agents, and state and university researchers. NP-304 Component I D, Systematic Studies of Emerging Pests and New Beneficials.

2. Invertebrate fauna of Plummers Island, MD. Edited and contributed 5 chapters to a book on the invertebrate fauna of Plummers Island, MD, a part of a linear parkway paralleling the Potomac River that constitutes a portion of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Park. Funding for project provided in part by U.S. National Park Service and Washington Biologists’ Field Club. This information will benefit those interested in biodiversity, faunal turn-over, invasive species, and habitat management of open spaces. NP-304 Component I, A, Prediction and Analysis of Invasive Insects and Mites.

3. New species of pyraloid moths for the biological control of the Old World climbing fern. Identified and analyzed two new species of pyraloid moths discovered in southeast Asia as possible biological control agents against Old World climbing fern in the Everglades, Florida; participated in research that led to the release of another fern-feeding species in Florida. This work will be useful to those involved in the biological control of Old World climbing fern. NP-304 Component IX, A, Agent Discovery and Selection and Risk Assessment.

4. New moth pest of asparagus from South America. Described a new moth pest of asparagus from South America, including all stages life stages (egg, larva, pupa, and adult), providing APHIS with a valid name for this organism so that scientists and growers involved have a means of communicating about this species. This work is important to those involved in the production of asparagus and action agencies such as APHIS, whose goal is the detection and exclusion of exotic insect pests. NP-304 Component IV, D, Fundamental Biology and Ecology of Exotic Insect Pests.

5. Arundo donax, Giant reed, as a new host for a major pest of sugarcane. In relation to ongoing activities involving the biological control of giant reed in the Rio Grande Valley, this plant was identified as a new host for E. loftini, a major pest of sugarcane. This information with be valuable to those involved in the biological control of this invasive weed. NP-304 Component IX, A, Agent Discovery and Selection and Risk Assessment.

6. New leafhopper, a vector of lethal yellowing disease of palms, described. Discovered for the first time, in the Dominican Republic, a leafhopper known to be a vector of lethal yellowing disease of palms, and two related leafhopper species - one from Jamaica and the other new to science. This work will be useful to those involved in the cultivation of palms and action agencies such as APHIS. NP-304 Component IV, D, Fundamental Biology and Ecology of Exotic Insect Pests.

5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
Participated (via conference calls and identifications) in a multi-agency (USDA, CAPS, APHIS, state departments of agriculture, etc.), national program to survey for light brown apple moth (Epiphyas postvittana) (LBAM), a recent pest arrival from Australia; responsible for final identification authority for all new state and county records.

6.Technology Transfer

Number of Web Sites Managed1
Number of Non-Peer Reviewed Presentations and Proceedings2
Number of Other Technology Transfer10

Review Publications
Brown, J.W. 2007. Confirmation of the Old World species Phricanthes flexilineana (Walker) in the New World tropics (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae: Phricanthini). Pan Pacific Entomology. 83:352-357.

Brown, J.W. 2008. The invertebrate fauna of plummers island, maryland: introduction and background. Bulletin of the Biological Society of Washington. 83:352-357.

Brown, J.W. 2008. Review of the Neotropical genus Cacocharis Walsingham (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae: Olethreutini), with a new synonymy and comments on its host plants and geographic distribution. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 110:533-542.

Brown, J.W., Bahr, S.M. 2008. The insect (Insecta) fauna of Plummers Island, Maryland: notes on historical collections and preliminary comments on diversity. Bulletin of the Biological Society of Washington. 15:54-64.

Brown, J.W., Epstein, M., Watkins, R., Bahr, S.M., Kolski, E. 2008. An overview of the lepidoptera (insecta) of Plummers Island, Maryland. Bulletin of the Biological Society of Washington. 15:65-74.

Brown, J.W., Komai, F. 2008. Key to the larvae of Castanea-feeding Olethreutinae frequently intercepted at U.S. ports-of-entry. Tropical Lepidoptera. 18:2-4.

Brown, J.W., Zachariades, C. 2007. A new species of Dichrorampha (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) from Jamaica: A potential biocontrol agent against Chromolaena odorata (Asterasceae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 109:938-947.

Hoebeke, R.E., Wheeler, A.G., Brown, J.W. 2008. Archips xylosteana (L.) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), a Palearctic leaf-rolling moth, new to North America. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 110:789-795.

Hoffman, R.L., Roble, S.M., Henry, T.J. 2007. First records of the rarely collected bug Nannocoris arenarius from Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia (Heteroptera: Schizopteridae). Banisteria. 30:38-39.

Hribar, L., Henry, T.J. 2008. Empicoris subparallelus (Hemiptera: Reduviidae), a predatory bug new to the fauna of Florida. Southeastern Naturalist. 90:738-741.

Kment, P., Henry, T.J. 2008. Two cases of homonymy in the family Berytidae (Heteroptera). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 110: 811-813.

Passoa, S., Balogh, G., Solis, M.A. 2008. Sitochroa palealis: a Palearctic pyraustine moth (Pyraloidea: Crambidae) newly introduced to North America. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 110(2):504-515.

Pogue, M.G. 2007. Revision of the Genus Psectrotarsia Dognin 1907 (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Heliothinae). Zootaxa. 1637:1-19.

Pogue, M.G. 2008. Inventory of the nolidae, erebidae, and noctuidae (lepidoptera) of Plummers Island, Maryland. Bulletin of the Biological Society of Washington. (15)107-120.

Pogue, M.G. 2008. Rhodoecia Hampson 1908 a new synonym of Pyrrhia Hubner [1821] 1816 (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Heliothinae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 110:810.

Brown, J.W. 2008. A new genus for Laspeyresia guttifera Meyrick (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae Olethreutinae), with notes on its host plant and geographic distribution. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 110: 635-642.

Razowski, J., Brown, J.W. 2008. Review of the caveatus species group of Episimus Walsingham, 1892 (Lepidoptera; Tortricidae: Olethreutinae). Acta Zoologica Cracoviensia. 51B(1-2):83-144.

Schuh, R.T., Weirauch, C., Henry, T.J., Halbert, S.E. 2008. Curaliidae, a new family of Heteroptera (Insecta: Hemiptera) from the eastern United States. Annuals of the Entomological Society of America. 101:20-29.

Solis, M.A. 2008. Aquatic Lepidoptera. In: Merritt, R.W., Cummins, K.W., and Berg, M.B., editors. Aquatic Insects of North America. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company. p. 553-569.

Solis, M.A. 2008. Pyraloidea and their known hosts (Lepidoptera: Insecta) from Plummers Island. Bulletin of the Biological Society of Washington. 15(1):88-106.

Solis, M.A., Metz, M. 2008. Species of Aphomia Hübner and Paralipsa Butler (Pyralidae: Galleriinae) Known to Occur in the United States and Canada and Their Associations with Stored Products and Social Hymenoptera. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 110(3):679-692.

Solis, M.A., Metz, M., Zachariades, C. 2008. Identity and generic placement of Phestinia costella Hampson (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae: Phycitinae) reared on the invasive plant Chromolaena odorata (L.) R.M. King & H. Rob. (Asteraceae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 110(3):292-601.

Last Modified: 1/28/2015
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