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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

2009 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
A draft manuscript was completed on North American members of the moth subfamily Heliothinae, along with draft plates of most of the adult moths. Continued to resolve species-level problems using the mitochondrial gene COI.

Completed re-descriptions of 4 genera of North American Cochylini. Draft diagnoses and/or descriptions of Rudenia, Carolella, Cochylidia, and Platpahlonidia, were added to the growing manuscript on North American Cochylini.

Completed draft manuscript for New World member of the tru bug subfamily Isometopinae; added additional illustrations, keys to subfamilies, tribes, genera, and species; diagnoses and descriptions of genera and most species completed; literature review completed; color dorsal photographs of all known species completed.

Completed draft manuscript, including phylogenetic analysis of seven genera of Ceratocapsini, four of which are new to science, and treating 44 species, 27 of which are new to science; completed introduction, keys to genera, diagnoses and descriptions of genera, keys to species, and descriptions of about three fourths of the species; completed scanning electron microcopy for at least one representative of each genus; and completed final illustrations of all male genitalia, including new species.

Completed preliminary draft of manuscript of revision of Acrogonia.

An electronic version of the tortricid food plant database (in PDF) was completed, along with an introduction and the supporting literature, and posted on the web at

Completed an electronic database of the primary types of Microlepidoptera in the USNM. The database is partially submitted to the Smithsonian Institution IT personnel for conversion to KEMu (the Smithsonian database system) for posting on the Smithsonian website.

Provided 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 SYs.

1. Completed research on seven North American species of Herpetogramma which includes the southern beet webworm and the tropical sod webworm. In 2006 beet production had a U.S. value of $1.5 billion and sod webworms feed on St. Augustine grass, a widely used lawn grass along the Gulf Coast in the U.S., and can cause damage when infestations are heavy. Type specimens or type series of 27 North American Herpetogramma species names were located, mostly in European museums, verified, dissected if necessary. Eight new synonyms are proposed, twelve lectotypes and 21 paralectotypes are designated to fix the identity of the species described. A key to seven North American species was created with photographs of the adults so native species can be separated from new and/or potentially invasive species.

2. Completed book chapter on heteropteran biodiversity, providing an overview of true bug classification, with a diagnosis all 87 families, summarizing their habits, economic importance, their impact on conservation biology, and providing detailed documentation that increases the known number of true bugs in the world by over 3,000, to 42,300. 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.

3. Completed research and published results on the Olive Green Cutworm moth species complex that included the description of three new species. The Green Olive Cutworm is a pest on ryegrass in the Pacific Northwest and also feeds on wheat and clover. Its formerly recognized distribution was considered to be western North America, south to Mexico, Costa Rica, and Bolivia. Through this research it was discovered that the specimens from the Neotropics were not the Olive Green Cutworm, but were three new species. Previous identifications of the Olive Green Cutworm from intercepted commodities from Mexico were not the Olive Green Cutworm, but a new species. A key to this species complex was created, that included two additional Neotropical species that have a very similar appearance to the Green Olive Cutworm and are pests of corn and apples. Adults and genitalia of both sexes were illustrated. There are records of APHIS interceptions of the Olive Green Cutworm from Mexico that have been incorrectly identified because of the similar appearance of these species. This research will enable the identification of these potential invasive species.

4. Completed 232-page article on sharpshooter leafhoppers (Hemiptera) of the Eastern Hemispshere, providing an indespensable identification aid for this diverse group that contains agricultural pests. The article is fully illustrated in color, covering over 90% of the 750 species, including types. Although a monograph of this group was published in 1986, males were needed for the key just to determine the genus, there was no key to species, and active research in China has put that publication out-of-date, both factors which severely hampered identification. This group of leafhoppers, more than any other, often exhibits striking color patterns that distinguish the individual species, making it an ideal candidate for an illustrated atlas such as this. Because all of these species are foreign, and many of them vector plant pathogens in Citrus, coffee, and other crops, this publication will benefit all who are interested in sharpshooters, including quarantine specialists, extension agents, and state and university researchers.

5. Collaborated with scientists in Australia in Mexico to complete research and submit for publication an article detailing the biology, geographic distribution, and host specificity of seven species of tortricid moths reared from the weedy Parkinsonia aculeata (Fabaceae), a plant native to North and Central America that has become an economically important invasive weed in Australia. The paper included a molecular analysis of one of the species with high potential as a biological control agent against this weed.

6.Technology Transfer

Number of Web Sites Managed1
Number of Other Technology Transfer7

Review Publications
Brown, J.W. 2008. A new species of Acleris (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae: Tortricini) from high elevations of Costa Rica, feeding on Rubus (Rosaceae). Journal of Lepidopterists Society. 36:341-348.

Henry, T.J. 2008. First North American records for the Palearctic Orius majusculus (Reuter) (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Anthocoridae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 111:953-959.

Brown, J.W. 2008. Tortricidae of the Palaearctic Region. Volume 1. General Part and Tortricini. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 110:1246-1248.

Brown, J.W. 2008. The Washington Biologists' Field Club: Its Members and Its History (1900-2006). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 110:1249-1250.

Henry, T.J. 2009. A new species of Pycnoderiella (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Miridae) from the West Indies. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 111:(3)603-608.

Henry, T.J. 2009. Biodiversity of the Heteroptera. In: Foottit, R. G., Adler, P. H., editors. Insect Biodiversity: Science and Society. Oxford, England: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 223-263.

Henry, T.J., Pena, J.E., Long, D., Acevedo, F. 2009. Stethoconus praefectus (Hemiptera: Miridae): First North American records of an Old World predatory plant bug preying on avocado lace bug, Pseudascysta perseae (Hemiptera: Tingidae), in Florida. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 111:98-105.

Holguin, C.M., Pena, J.E., Henry, T.J., Acevedo, F.E. 2009. Biology of Stethoconus praefectus (Heteroptera: Miridae), a newly established predator of the avocado lace bug, Pseudacysta perseae (Heteroptera: Tingidae). Florida Entomologist. 92:54-57.

Kerzhner, I.M., Henry, T.J. 2008. Three new species, notes and new records of poorly known species, and an updated checklist for the North American Nabidae (Hemiptera: Heteroptera). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 110:988-1011.

Pogue, M.G. 2009. A review of the Tripudia quadrifera (Zeller) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) species complex. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 111:68-97.

Pogue, M.G. 2009. Three new cryptic species within the Dargida procinctus (Grote) complex (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Hadeninae) from the Neotropics. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 111:686-697.

Solis, M.A. 2009. Transfer of All Cybalomiinae to other Subfamilies (Crambidae: Pyraloidea: Lepidoptera: Elusia Schaus, Dichochroma Forbes, Schacontia Dyar, Cybalomia extorris Warren, and C. lojanalis Dognin. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 111(2):493-504.

Wilson, M.R., Turner, J.A., Mckamey, S.H. 2009. Sharpshooter Leafhoppers (Hemiptera: Cicadellinae). An Illustrated Checklist. Part 1: Old World Cicadellini. BIOTIR Reports: Studies in Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity and Systematics. 4:1-232.

Yang, A., Brown, J.W. 2009. Variation in the female frenulum in Tortricidae (Lepidoptera). Part 1. Chlidanotinae. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 111:742-750.

Pogue, M.G. 2009. Lepidoptera Biodiversity. In: Foottit, R., Adler, P., editors. Insect Biodiversity: Science and Society. 1st edition. Blackwell Science Publishing. Oxford, England. p. 263-293.

Roe, A., Weller, S., Baixeras, J., Brown, J.W., Cummings, M., Davis, D., Hawakara, A., Mitter, C., Parr, C., Reiger, J. 2009. Evolutionary Framework for Lepidoptera Model Systems. In: Goldsmith, M., Marec, F., editors. Genetics and Molecular Biology of Lepidoptera. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. p. 1-24.

Kment, P., Henry, T.J., Fryda, J. 2009. Neostusakia, a new name for preoccupied Stusakia Kment and Henry, 2008 (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Berytidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 111:754-755.

Last Modified: 2/1/2015
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