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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Systematic Entomology Laboratory » Research » Research Project #439480

Research Project: Systematics of Hemiptera: Plant Pests, Predators, and Disease Vectors

Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-22000-316-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Oct 15, 2020
End Date: Oct 14, 2025

Objective:
Objective 1: Conduct integrative systematic research of molecular (including Ag100Pests data) and morphological data to: determine species boundaries; recognize, describe, and illustrate new and invasive species; develop identification keys; hypothesize phylogenetic relationships among the respective groups for the purpose of stabilizing classification; and investigate host use and specificity of Aphidomorpha (aphids), Membracoidea (leafhoppers and treehoppers), Aleyrodomorpha (whiteflies), Coccomorpha (scale insects), and Heteroptera (true bugs) that are pests of or beneficial to U.S. agriculture. [NP304, C1 PS1A; C2 PS2B; C3 PS3A and 3B] Objective 2: Develop web-searchable electronic databases, tools, and images of aphids, whiteflies, scale insects (Sternorrhyncha), leafhoppers (Auchenorrhyncha), and true bugs (Heteroptera) in the U.S. National Insect and Mite Collection and obtained through field exploration. This includes developing web-based resources to improve technology transfer of research products and disseminating this information to a broad group of stakeholders (e.g., quarantine, conservation, and biological control personnel). The proposed products will include searchable databases of certain hemipteran families. [NP304, C1 PS1A; C2 PS2B; C3 PS3A and 3B] Objective 3: Provide expert identifications of specimens submitted by stakeholders worldwide, and manage and curate assigned portions of the U.S. National Insect and Mite Collection, including all taxa in the suborders Heteroptera, Auchenorrhyncha, Sternorrhyncha, and Coleorrhyncha, which involve more than one and a half million specimens housed in more than 3,000 insect drawers and mounted on hundreds of thousands of microscope slides. [NP304, C1 PS1A; C2 PS2B; C3 PS3A and 3B]

Approach:
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.