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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

2012 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, websites, 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:
Male genitalia of 33 North American Ceratocapsini have been illustrated; 77 species and more than 2,000 specimens have been sorted and placed in their genus-group taxa, several of which represent new genera; 12 habitus illustrations are completed; and a substantial amount of locality and host information has been collected. Compared four Central and South American species of Acinopterus with Nearctic species and compiled Neotropical distribution records. Two Neotropical species as yet unavailable for study.

Work on the Neotropical Termitidae and Thripidae has been terminated because of a scientist's retirement. Representative DNA and voucher specimens from more than half the species within the aphid genus Rhopalosiphum has been procured for study. However, due to budgetary constraints in the past fiscal years, travel for collection of additional specimens has been significantly curtailed.

An additional 1,350 records of Heteroptera type database were reviewed for typographical errors and overall accuracy. Scientists also verified 75% of existing preliminary membracoid type entries and captured approximately 200 digital images.

Work on termite and thrips databases has been terminated because of a scientist's retirement. Adelgidae and Phylloxeridae primary type holdings and collection have been scanned for image databasing and collection data transcription. Publication/posting of AphID (a peer-reviewed web-based expert identification system) is intended to help U.S. port identifiers and quarantine officers seeking a preliminary but effective way to identify aphids. Revisionary projects of aphids resulted in the discovery of novel characters for identification, determining relationships, and clarifying names of the included groups.


4.Accomplishments
1. Completed and posted AphID (http://aphid.aphidnet.org/index.php). AphID was developed through collaboration among USDA - Center for Plant Health Science and Technology, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, University of Maryland, and Université de Montréal, Canada. The tool includes an interactive identification key to the winged and wingless morphs of the 66 species, descriptive pages with detailed imagery of each species, and an in-depth glossary and morphology tutorial. AphID is intended to help U.S. port identifiers, quarantine officers, and anyone seeking a preliminary identification or background information on some of the world's most common economically important aphid species.

2. Completed the description of a new species of plant bug from South Florida that was found seriously injuring ornamental hedges of Florida privet. Color photographs of the adults, fifth instar, and egg, and the first key to the sixteen southeastern U.S. species of the genus were provided to help distinguish this new species from related species. This work will be of value to a wide range of researchers working on pests attacking privet and related plants, including ash and fringetree.

3. Completed database (2,841 valid genera) of a comprehensive checklist of world leafhopper genera 1,758-2,011, with synonymy and distributions. A comprehensive checklist of world leafhopper species 1,758-2,011, with synonymy, distributions, and type depositories, is about 97% completed (2,329 post-1,955 publications incorporated; 20,705 valid species; 3,063 junior synonyms). This work will be important to all workers needing accurate names for leafhoppers and their distributions.


Review Publications
Henry, T.J. 2012. First eastern North American records of Campyloneura virgula (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Miridae: Bryocorinae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 114:159-163.

Henry, T.J., Caldwell, D.L., Halbert, S.E. 2012. Tropidosteptes forestierae (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Miridae: Mirinae): A new species of plant bug injuring ornamental Florida swampprivet, Forestiera segregata (Oleaceae), in South Florida. Insecta Mundi. 0240:1-10.

Hribar, L.J., Miller, G.L. 2012. Ectoparasites Collected from the Common Yellowthroat on Vaca Key, Florida. Florida Field Naturalist. 39(4):138-141.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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