Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 11, 2011
Publication Date: December 16, 2011
Citation: Thomas, D.B., De Leon, J.H. 2011. Is the old world fig, Ficus carica L. (Moraceae), an alternate host for the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri (Kuwayama) (Homoptera: Psyllidae)? Florida Entomologist. 94(4):1081-1083.
Interpretive Summary: The Asian citrus psyllid is a major pest of citrus because it transmits citrus greening disease. This insect feeds and breeds mainly on plants in the Citrus family. In the summer of 2010, we discovered the psyllid breeding on fig trees. We confirmed the identification using DNA analysis. In a followup greenhouse experiment, we demonstrated that the psyllid will breed on fig trees as an alternative host, but it prefers citrus family members. There have been previous unconfirmed reports of Asian citrus psyllid breeding on non-citrus plants. Information on host plant usage patterns is important for pest surveillance programs.
The only non-rutaceous plant on which D. citri has been found breeding in Texas is the edible fig, Ficus carica (Moraceae). In the summer of 2010, we discovered D. citri nymphs on a dooryard fig tree. Fig has its own species of psyllid, Homatoma ficus, but both adults and nymphs of that species are easily distinguished. Our colleague, Jesus De Leon, confirmed our identification of nymphs with a molecular marker (in litt.). In a followup greenhouse experiment, we reared D. citri through to adults on potted fig plants. Significantly, the only other record for breeding by D. citri on a non-rutaceous host plant was the genus Artocarpus, also in the family Moraceae (Shivanker et al. 2000).