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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics


Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

2013 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
ARS is interested in performing research to increase and enhance the understanding of the systematics of aphids, leafhoppers, plant bugs, thrips, and termites important to agriculture, ornamentals, and the environment. Our Project Plan has four main objectives: Objective 1: Determine species boundaries; recognize, describe, and illustrate new and adventive species; develop identification keys; define relationships among the respective groups; and investigate host use and specificity of leafhoppers, thrips, true bugs, and related groups that are pests of, or beneficial, to U.S. agriculture. Objective 2: Develop accurate species concepts for aphids using a holistic approach based on morphological and molecular data. Objective 3: Compile, organize, and post on web electronic databases and images of primary types of important aphids, leafhoppers, termites, thrips, and true bugs. Objective 4: Provide expert identifications of specimens submitted by stakeholders worldwide and manage assigned portions of the U.S. National Insect Collection.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
ARS will undertake the taxonomic research on agriculturally and economically important aphids, leafhoppers, plant bugs, termites, and thrips, using both morphological and molecular data to create species concepts and develop hypotheses about relationships. This information will be used to develop comprehensive revisions, including generic and species diagnoses and descriptions, illustrations of adults and diagnostic characters using light and electron microscopy, and dichotomous identification keys that will facilitate accurate identification. This information will be made available through publications, including hard-copy books, online pdf files, websites, and other media. Timely, accurate identifications of aphids, bugs, leafhoppers, termites, and thrips submitted by APHIS/PPQ, other state and Federal agencies, and a wide range of researchers will be provided. Large portions of the United States National Collection of Insects will be maintained and expanded.

3. Progress Report:
Male genitalia of 36 North American Ceratocapsini have been illustrated, 45 additional species have been dissected; 85 species and more than 3,000 specimens have been sorted and placed in their genus-group taxa, several of which represent new genera; 12 dorsal habitus illustrations and 120 photographs are completed; and a substantial amount of locality and host information has been collected. Revisionary projects of leafhoppers resulted in the discovery of novel characters for identification, determining relationships, and clarifying names of the included species, including one new species. Another new species, commonly intercepted from Mexico, has been partially described. Progress on other revisionary projects of aphids resulted in the discovery of novel characters for identification, determining relationships, and clarifying names of the included groups. Proofed data for 75% of Heteroptera type database for typographical errors and overall accuracy; a searchable user-friendly shell has been developed. Adelgidae and Phylloxeridae primary type holdings and collection have progressed through scanning, image, image databasing, and collection data transcription. On-line accessibility of the data and delivery format is being explored. Progress in video and e-learning formats on aphids and related insects resulted in development of products for taxonomic workshops and training to agricultural inspectors and first detectors throughout the United States. Provided identifications for 2516 species, involving 1718 urgents, 256 prompts, 542, 542 routines, and 3478 specimens.

4. Accomplishments
1. Completed taxonomic revision of the plant bug genus Tytthus. Members of this economically important group of predatory bugs were difficult to identify and several species new to science were discovered that required description. Nineteen species were reviewed, one species was transferred in Tytthus from another genus, and five new species were described, bringing the total known to 24 species. All species were illustrated, an identification key was presented, and the phylogenetic relationships of the genus were hypothesized. Members of this genus are predators of planthopper eggs, including those that attack rice and sugarcane. Accurate identification of these bugs will allow researchers to better implement them as biocontrol agents on various agricultural crops.

2. Completion and posting of eight e-learning videos demonstrating the various techniques used for making permanent and temporary microscope slides of small soft-bodied arthropods. Study on microscope slides required specialized skill sets. The outcome of this work can be used to supplement training and taxonomic workshops and will be available worldwide. It's impact in cost reduction for training and permanency of record for techniques is substantial. This is a multiagency collaboration (USDA-ARS, APHIS-PPQ, University of Florida, University of Maryland, Florida Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Services) in support of the Enhanced Pest Identification and Technology effort(Farm Bill—H.R. 6124).

Review Publications
Huang, X., Hawkins, B.A., Lei, F., Miller, G.L., Favret, C. 2012. Willing and unwilling to share primary biodiversity data: results and implications of an international survey. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 5(5):399-406.

Henry, T.J. 2012. Revision of the plant bug genus Tytthus, with a key to species (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Miridae: Phylinae). ZooKeys. 220:1-114.

Wolski, A., Henry, T.J. 2012. Revision of the New World species of Peritropis Uhler (Heteroptera: Miridae: Cylapinae). Insect Systematics & Evolution. 43:213-270.

Henry, T.J., Carpintero, D.L. 2012. A review of the jumping tree bugs (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Miridae: Isometopinae) of Argentina and nearby areas of Brazil and Paraguay, with descriptions of nine new species. Zootaxa. 3545:41-58.

Henry, T.J. 2013. Randallophorus schuhi, a new Neotropical genus and species of Pilophorini (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Miridae: Phylinae). Journal of New York Entomological Society. 118(1-4):177-282.

Wolski, A., Henry, T.J. 2013. Corrigendum to: Revision of the New World species of Peritropis Uhler (Hemiptera: Miridae: Cylapinae). Insect Systematics & Evolution. 44:107-109.

Last Modified: 05/23/2017
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