Submitted to: Popular Publication
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: May 14, 2010
Publication Date: June 7, 2010
Repository URL:http://cesantabarbara.ucdavis.edu/newsletterfiles/Central_Coast_Agriculture_Highlights20895.pdf Citation: Cooper, W.R. 2010. USDA-ARS Research Highlights: Western Tarnished Plant Bug Ecology and Behavior. Central Coast Agriculture Highlights June 2010 Newsletter.
Lygus hesperus Knight (Hemiptera: Miridae) is a key pest of a diversity of crops throughout California. Feeding behavior varies among individual lygus, and this variation complicates management decisions and interpretation of studies investigating lygus damage. Using video-based behavior assays, we found that feeding behaviors differ little between pre-reproductive male and female adults (=3 days old). However, once adults reach a reproductive age (>7 days after eclosion), behaviors tend to differ between males and females, and are further influenced by mating history. In general, unmated reproductive females spent more time on plants and fed more than mated females. Although mated females spent more time away from the plant and fed in shorter intervals, they stylet-probed the plant more often compared to unmated females. Patterns in male behaviors were opposite of those of females. Unmated males left plants more often and fed less than mated males. Our study documents previously unrecognized sources of variation in adult lygus behavior that may prove useful in developing a better understanding of variation in plant damage caused by adult lygus.