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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Plant Viruses and Insects

Author
item Hunter, Wayne

Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Entomology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: April 5, 2004
Publication Date: April 10, 2004
Citation: Plant Viruses and Insects. in Enyclopedia of Entomology, (John L. Capinera, ed). Vol. 3, P-Z, pgs. 1762-1768. Klewer Academic Publishers.

Interpretive Summary: Insects cause economic losses to agricultural industries through their feeding damage, and more importantly the through the transmission of plant diseases. The most important insects that spread plant diseases are in the insect Order: Hemiptera, and the top three are the aphids, leafhoppers, and whiteflies. Another important insect Order: Thysanoptera, are the thrips. Thrips are known worldwide as important in the spread of plant viruses known as Tospoviruses. These infect tomatoes and many ornamental crops. With advances in genetic methods for research we now know of at least 600 different plant diseases which are spread by these insect pests. Studies on insect feeding and digestion are aiding our efforts to better understand how these insects select and find their host plants, how they are able to overcome the plant’s defenses, and how these insects are able to transmit specific plant diseases.

Technical Abstract: Insect vectors of plant diseases cause huge economic losses each year to agriculture, through their feeding damage, but more importantly through the transmission of plant diseases. The most important vectors of plant diseases are in the Order: Hemiptera, and the top three types of insects which are vectors are the aphids, leafhoppers and whiteflies. Another insect Order: Thysanoptera, the thrips, are also known worldwide as an important vector of the plant viruses known as Tospoviruses, which infect tomatoes and many ornamental crops. Recent advances in genetic methods have allowed researchers to identify more than 600 different known plant viruses which are spread by these insect pests. Studies on feeding and digestion are aiding efforts to better understand how these insects find and select their host plants, how they are able to overcome plant defenses, and how these insects are able to transmit specific plant diseases.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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