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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wapato, Washington » Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #178432


item Munyaneza, Joseph - Joe
item Upton, Jeffrey

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/15/2005
Publication Date: 12/1/2005
Citation: Munyaneza, J.E., Upton, J.E. 2005. Beet leafhopper (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) settling behavior, survival, and reproduction on selected host plants. J. Econ. Entomol. 98(6): 1824-1830.

Interpretive Summary: The beet leafhopper is a serious insect pest throughout the western United States. It transmits beet curly top virus (BCTV) and beet leafhopper transmitted virescence agent (BLTVA) phytoplasma. These plant pathogens are responsible for various diseases in several crops, including the potato purple top disease, and cause significant losses to the vegetable industry. Research was conducted by researchers at the USDA-ARS Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory to determine the feeding behavior, survival, and reproduction of the beet leafhopper to gain understanding of mechanisms of how this insect transmits pathogens to a wide range of plants, particularly to those that are not its preferred hosts. Results showed that this leafhopper does not discriminate between host plants during its first hours of feeding. This insect survives and reproduces on studied plants, including sugar beet, radish, and potato, but does not reproduce on carrot, tomato, and dry beans. Information from the present study will help design effective management strategies to reduce incidence of leafhopper transmitted diseases in potatoes and other economically important vegetable crops.

Technical Abstract: Experiments were conducted to determine the feeding behavior, survival, and reproduction of the beet leafhopper, Circulifer tenellus Baker, when maintained on selected preferred and non-preferred host plants. This leafhopper was recently identified in the Columbia Basin of Washington and Oregon as the major vector of the beet leafhopper transmitted virescence agent phytoplasma, causal agent of several vegetable crop diseases, including potato purple top. Plants selected for study were sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.), radish (Raphanus sativus L.), dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), potato (Solanum tuberosum L.), carrot (Daucus carota L.), and tomato (Lycospericon esculentum Mill.). Leafhopper adults were confined on caged plants, feeding behavior was observed for 72 hr, and survival was monitored for 40 days. Also, oviposition and nymph production were investigated by maintaining leafhoppers for about 90 days on each of the selected plants. Leafhoppers fed readily on all studied plants during the first 4 hr but feeding on bean and tomato declined sharply thereafter. Leafhopper mortality was very high on bean and tomato, with almost all the leafhoppers confined on bean dying in about a week. In contrast, there was no or little mortality to leafhoppers maintained on sugar beet, radish, and potato. Beet leafhopper oviposition and nymph production and development only occurred on sugar beet, radish, and potato. These data increase the understanding of how the beet leafhopper successfully transmits pathogens to plants, especially those that are not its preferred hosts.