Submitted to: Entomological Society of America Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 5, 2005
Publication Date: November 14, 2005
Citation: Hunter, W.B., Albrecht, U., Achor, D. 2005. Viral pathogen of glassy-winged sharpshooter (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae; Homalodisca coagulata) [abstract]. Entomological Society of America Proceedings. Technical Abstract: Pierce's Disease of grapes is caused by the bacterial pathogen Xylella fastidiosa, and threatens the national viticulture industry. The glassy-winged sharpshooter, GWSS, Homalodisca coagulata, is the primary vector of Pierce's Disease which, if not controlled, threatens to completely eliminate the ability of the U.S. to compete in global markets. Naturally occurring insect infecting viruses, or similar viruses introduced into an insect population, can significantly reduce insect numbers by increasing mortality, or reducing population growth by reducing the number of eggs laid or that survive. Research has demonstrated that several viruses may have use in reducing the impact of GWSS in the spread of Pierce's Disease. Viral pathogens of leafhoppers have not yet been fully exploited as potential microbial control agents. Herein we examined the potential of a dsDNA virus, from the Iridoviridae, the iridescent insect infecting viruses, as a pathogenic agent of the GWSS. Adult GWSS were successfully infected with Whitefly Iridovirus, WFIV, that had been propagated in lepidopteran larvae of Trichoplusia ni. Virus infection caused reduced longevity and fecundity of GWSS. Adults were infected by microinjection and/or sprays. Infected individuals transmitted the virus to 'healthy' cohorts when caged together, suggesting a natural aerosol mode of transmission which would increase virus spread in insects that aggregate, like GWSS. Detection of virus positive eggs supports the hypothesis that WFIV is also transovarially transmitted. Iridovirus infected the GWSS and had a pathogenic effect. Further research on leafhopper viruses may lead to new microbial control agents against leafhopper vectors of Pierce's Disease such as the GWSS.