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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IPM TECHNOLOGIES FOR INSECT PESTS OF ORCHARD CROPS

Location: Subtropical Insects and Horticulture Research

Title: Behavioral, ultrastructural and chemical studies on the honeydew and waxy secretions by nymphs and adults of the Asian citrus psyllid Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera: Psyllidae)

Authors
item Ammar, Eldesouky
item Alessandro, Rocco
item Shatters, Robert
item Hall, David

Submitted to: PLoS One
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 22, 2013
Publication Date: June 10, 2013
Citation: Ammar, E., Alessandro, R.T., Shatters, R.G., Hall, D.G. 2013. Behavioral, ultrastructural and chemical studies on the honeydew and waxy secretions by nymphs and adults of the Asian citrus psyllid Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera: Psyllidae). PLoS One. 8(6):e64938.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064938

Interpretive Summary: The Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera, Psyllidae) is the primary vector of citrus huanglongbing (citrus greening), the most serious disease of citrus worldwide. Behavioral, ultrastructural and chemical studies on ACP, its honeydew and waxy secretions suggested some mechanisms by which the psyllids, especially nymphs and adult females, can minimize their contamination with honeydew excretions. Infrared microscopy and mass spectroscopy revealed that, in addition to various sugars, honeydew excretions of ACP nymphs and females are covered with a thin layer of wax similar in profile to ester waxes.

Technical Abstract: The Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera, Psyllidae) is the primary vector of citrus huanglongbing (citrus greening), the most serious disease of citrus worldwide. Behavioral, ultrastructural and chemical studies on ACP, its honeydew and waxy secretions suggested some mechanisms by which the psyllids, especially nymphs and adult females, can minimize their contamination with honeydew excretions. The anal opening in ACP, near the posterior end of the abdomen, is on the ventral side in nymphs and on the dorsal side in adult males and females. Video recordings showed that adult males produce clear sticky droplets of honeydew gently deposited immediately behind their body on the leaf surface, whereas adult females produce whitish honeydew pellets powerfully propelled away from the female body, probably to get their excretions away from eggs and newly hatched nymphs. ACP nymphs produce long ribbons or tubes of honeydew that frequently stay attached to the exuviae after molting, or drop when feeding on the lower side of citrus leaves. Furthermore, honeydew excretions of both nymphs and adult females are covered with a thin layer of whitish waxy material ultrastructurally composed of a convoluted network of long fine filaments or ribbons. This material is extruded from intricate arrays of pore plates in the circumanal ring (around the anus) that is found in nymphs and females but not in males of ACP or other psyllid species. Infrared microscopy and mass spectroscopy revealed that, in addition to various sugars, honeydew excretions of ACP nymphs and females are covered with a thin layer of wax similar in profile to ester waxes.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014
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