Submitted to: Tomato Disease Workshop
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 21, 2004
Publication Date: June 25, 2004
Citation: Reitz, S.R. 2004. Biology and ecology of flower thrips in relation to tomato spotted wilt virus. International Tomato Disease Symposium, Orlando, FL. June 21-24, 2004. Interpretive Summary: : Thrips are the most significant insect pests of tomatoes in the southeastern USA. Feeding by thrips reduces the quality and yield of crops, and some species, such as the western flower thrips, transmit a devastating plant disease, tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV). Because TSWV can only be acquired by larvae and transmitted by adults, it is essential to determine the ecology of these different life stages to improve management of thrips and TSWV. Several aspects of the biology and ecology of thrips vectors of tomato spotted wilt virus are discussed and an overview of vector-pathogens interaction is given, using the complex of native and exotic Frankliniella species that occurs in the southeastern USA as a model. All of these species have a rapid generation time, and adults are highly polyphagous. Therefore, populations can build rapidly on numerous hosts and then infest tomato fields. Species with high dispersal rates may actually account for a disproportionate amount of virus transmission. More mobile species can also recolonize insecticide treated fields rapidly, which can create an impression that they are less susceptible than more sedentary species to certain insecticides. A better understanding of interspecific variation among vectors is essential for improving management of thrips and TSWV.
Technical Abstract: Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV) is transmitted exclusively by certain species of thrips. Because TSWV can only be acquired by larvae and transmitted by adults, it is essential to determine the ecology of these different life stages to improve management of thrips and TSWV. Furthermore, interspecific differences among vector species complicate management issues. Here aspects of the biology and ecology of thrips vectors of tomato spotted wilt virus are discussed and an overview of vector-pathogens interaction is given. The complex of native and adventive Frankliniella species that occur in the southeastern USA is used as a model system for comparing and contrasting species-specific behavioral attributes that affect large-scale spatial and temporal population dynamics. The common Frankliniella species in the southeastern USA include Frankliniella occidentalis, F. fusca, F. bispinosa, and F. tritici. The western flower thrips, F. occidentalis, is considered the predominant vector of TSWV. This species has a rapid generation time, and adults are highly polyphagous. Numerous hosts may serve as sources for thrips entering tomato fields, yet tomato is a poor reproductive host. Therefore, most of the thrips infesting fields are immigrants. F. occidentalis is a less mobile species than the others. These interspecific differences in the activity levels of adults consequently affect how the species colonize plants and the field efficacy of insecticides against each species. These results show the importance of understanding interspecific variation among vectors for management of TSWV.