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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Crop Diseases, Pests and Genetics Research

Title: The Sharpshooter X-wave: Correlation of an Electrical Penetration Graph (EPG) Waveform with Xylem Penetration During Feeding of Glassy-winged Sharpshooter)

item Backus, Elaine
item Holmes, Wendy
item Reardon,, Brendon
item Schreiber, Fred
item Walker,, Gregory

Submitted to: Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/24/2007
Publication Date: 12/10/2007
Publication URL:
Citation: Backus, E.A., Holmes, W., Reardon,, B.J., Schreiber, F., Walker,, G.P. 2007. The Sharpshooter X-wave: Correlation of an Electrical Penetration Graph (EPG) Waveform with Xylem Penetration During Feeding of Glassy-winged Sharpshooter. Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting Abstracts. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Electrical penetration graph (EPG) monitoring is a rigorous means of observing and quantifying the feeding of any piercing-sucking insect. Previous studies with aphid and leafhopper pests of agricultural crops have demonstrated the unique value of what is termed the X wave, i.e. the waveform that represents first penetration of the insect’s piercing-sucking mouth parts, the stylets, into a preferred vascular tissue for ingestion, usually a phloem sieve element or xylem tracheary element. This paper presents the first direct evidence of the sharpshooter X wave, as studied in glassy-winged sharpshooter, Homalodisca vitripennis, and smoke tree sharpshooter, H. liturata (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae). We observed the consistent association of the X wave with salivary sheath termini in a xylem cell, especially mature (lignified), secondary xylem cells. The X wave is a complex, multi-component waveform family that is composed of waveform types B1s (previously shown to represent precibarial valve movement and possible egestion), B1w (salivation), proto-C (possible micro-ingestion) and C (macro-ingestion/ cibarial pumping). The X wave is a pathway and interruption-phase waveform that is best visualized using the AC-DC EPG monitor, with input impedance set at 10E7 Ohms, to balance emf and R components. The sharpshooter X wave is correlated with first penetration of xylem, and represents a suite of behaviors that we propose function to: 1) physically seal stylet tips into the cell via sheath salivation, 2) taste constituents of the cell to determine acceptability, and 3) mechanically test strength of the stylet seal via trial cibarial pumping. We hypothesize that the X wave is associated with behaviors that control inoculation of Xylella fastidiosa.

Last Modified: 8/24/2016
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