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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: Systematics of Hemiptera and Related Groups: Plant Pests, Predators, and Disease Vectors

Location: Systematic Entomology

2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
ARS is interested in performing research to increase and enhance the understanding of the systematics of aphids, leafhoppers, plant bugs, thrips, and termites important to agriculture, ornamentals, and the environment. Our Project Plan has four main objectives: Objective 1: Determine species boundaries; recognize, describe, and illustrate new and adventive species; develop identification keys; define relationships among the respective groups; and investigate host use and specificity of leafhoppers, thrips, true bugs, and related groups that are pests of, or beneficial, to U.S. agriculture. Objective 2: Develop accurate species concepts for aphids using a holistic approach based on morphological and molecular data. Objective 3: Compile, organize, and post on web electronic databases and images of primary types of important aphids, leafhoppers, termites, thrips, and true bugs. Objective 4: Provide expert identifications of specimens submitted by stakeholders worldwide and manage assigned portions of the U.S. National Insect Collection.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
ARS will undertake the taxonomic research on agriculturally and economically important aphids, leafhoppers, plant bugs, termites, and thrips, using both morphological and molecular data to create species concepts and develop hypotheses about relationships. This information will be used to develop comprehensive revisions, including generic and species diagnoses and descriptions, illustrations of adults and diagnostic characters using light and electron microscopy, and dichotomous identification keys that will facilitate accurate identification. This information will be made available through publications, including hard-copy books, online pdf files, Web sites, and other media. Timely, accurate identifications of aphids, bugs, leafhoppers, termites, and thrips submitted by APHIS/PPQ, other state and Federal agencies, and a wide range of researchers will be provided. Large portions of the United States National Collection of Insects will be maintained and expanded.


3.Progress Report
The North American literature on the predatory plant bug tribe Ceratocapsinae was reviewed, a checklist of the 77 known species was completed, the known distributions were summarized, and descriptions of 16 species were completed. Species boundaries in the leafhopper genus Acinopterus have been tentatively established for 25 species and the genitalia of nine of these have been illustrated. Approximately 1,128 samples of Peruvian termites were sorted to nearly 70 morphospecies and 12 species new to science were recognized in preparation for a forthcoming revision of the group. A review of the literature of Neohydatothrips and Scolothrips was completed. Three of five species of Neohydatothrips were described, figures of five species of Scolothrips were rendered, and LT-SEM images of all stages of one species of Scolothrips one species of Scolothrips. Much of the background literature pertinent to the aphid genus Rhopalosiphum has been procured, several species have been obtained from worldwide sources and DNA extractions have been performed. However, due to budgetary constraints in the past fiscal years, travel for collection of additional specimens has been curtailed. Assessment of the Adelgidae and Phylloxeridae primary type holdings resulted in a preliminary database inventory. Significant progress has been made on development of a web-based interactive key for identification of common aphids intercepted at U.S. ports of entry. Revisionary projects of aphids resulted in the discovery of novel characters for identification, determining relationships, and clarifying names of the included groups. About 25% or about 1350 records in the Heteroptera primary type database were reviewed for typographical errors and overall accuracy. The leafhopper primary type database, containing approximately 2,100 types, was reviewed, 50% of the entries were proofed for accuracy, and about 250 digital images of leafhoppers were captured for placement on the internet. All 50 Adelgidae and Phylloxeridae primary types within the National Aphidoidea collection were studied to determine the number and condition of the specimens in preparation for digitizing and web access. In preparation for digitizing 10 types, the termite database of nearly 300 primary types was reviewed and about 25% of the entries were proofed for accuracy. In preparation for digitizing 10 types, the thrips database of about 400 primary types was reviewed and about 30% of the entries were proofed for accuracy.

Two major collections were acquired for the Heteroptera collection: nearly 40,000 Neotropical and Oriential specimens in one collection and nearly 4,000 identified Middle Eastern and northern African Heteroptera in another, comprising over 600 species, 305 of which are new for the USNM holdings. For the general Auchenorrhyncha research collection, 2,005 species of leafhoppers (comprising 8 subfamilies) and 1,386 species of planthoppers (comprising 6 families) have been inventoried and databased. A major curatorial effort, involving 2,800 drawers, 45 cabinets, and 900 jars of Orthoptera, was completed.


4.Accomplishments
1. Clarification of aphid names for identification and relationship purposes. A catalog of the world genera of aphids was completed, published, and submitted for review to the committee International Committee on Zoological Nomenclature. Since aphids include many serious pests of world agricultural importance, the importance of stabilizing names through agreement by the scientific community is essential before any program related to their control, ecology, life history, pest exclusion, and pest management is implemented.

2. A comprehensive treatment of the plant bug subfamily Bryocorinae of Minas Gerais, Brazil, with keys to the tribes, genera, and species, was completed. Many members of this subfamily cause leaf spotting, cankers, and lesions on their hosts making them serious pests of various crops, including cocoa, coffee, beans, corn, cassava, in North, Central, and South America. Included are diagnoses of the adults, host-plant information, distribution data, and illustrated keys to four tribes, 24 genera, and 56 species. This research will be of value to a wide range of researchers working on tropical and subtropical pests.

3. Room temperature storage of voucher specimen DNA. A system for storing DNA from voucher specimens was developed, tested, and results have been submitted for publication.


Review Publications
Ferreira, P.F., Henry, T.J. 2011. Synopsis and keys to the tribes, genera, and species of Miridae (Hemiptera: Heteroptera) of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Part I: Bryocorinae. Zootaxa. 2920:1-41.

Henry, T.J. 2010. New plant bug (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Miridae) records for West Virginia. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 112(4):490-499.

Henry, T.J., Hoffman, R.L., Wolski, A. 2011. First North American record of the Old World cylapine Fulvius subnitens (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Miridae) from Virginia, with descriptions and a key to the U.S. species of Fulvius. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 113(2):127-136.

Nieto Nafria, J.M., Favret, C., Akimoto, S., Barbagallo, S., Chakrabarti, S., Mier Durante, M.P., Miller, G.L., Qiao, G.X., Sano, M., Perez, H.N., Stekolshchikov, A., Wegierek, P. 2011. Registers of family-group and genus-group taxa of Aphidoidea. In: Nieto Nafria, J.M., Favret, C., editors. Entomological Society of Spain. Leon, Spain: University of Leon. p. 81-404.

Pike, K.S., Foottit, R.G., Maw, E., Miller, G.L., Graf, G. 2010. Molecular and biometric assessment of Myzodium mimulicola (Drew & Sampson) (Hemiptera, Aphididae), new synonymy, host, and distributional data. The Canadian Entomologist. 142:448-457.

Favret, C., Miller, G.L. 2011. C.V. Riley’s lost aphids: Siphonophora fragariae var. immaculata and Aphis rapae var. laevigata (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Entomological News. 121(2):200-205.

Favret, C., Miller, G.L. 2011. The neotype barcode of the cotton aphid (Hemiptera: Aphididae: Aphis gossypii Glover, 1877) and a proposal for type barcodes. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 113(2):119-126.

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
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