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Title: Observations and implications of the cotton fleahopper in Rapistrum rugosum

item Esquivel, Jesus

Submitted to: Journal of Entomological Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/18/2008
Publication Date: 10/1/2008
Citation: Esquivel, J.F. 2008. Observations and implications of the cotton fleahopper in Rapistrum rugosum. Journal of Entomological Science. 43:434-437.

Interpretive Summary: The cotton fleahopper attacks young cotton buds and bolls, causing yield losses in Texas and other regions of the Cotton Belt. Because fleahoppers develop on spring weed hosts, identification of new hosts increases recognition of potential fleahopper infestations in cotton. This research indicated that cotton fleahoppers were present in turnipweed, a previously unreported host for early-season fleahopper populations. Adults were predominant in turnipweed, which suggests that turnipweed is primarily a feeding host. As such, turnipweed may sustain fleahopper adults that emerge from winter dormancy because turnipweed is available before other key early-season hosts. These findings suggest that producers and crop consultants should assess neighboring weed hosts to determine potential sources of fleahopper infestations in cotton.

Technical Abstract: The cotton fleahopper is an early-season pest of developing cotton in Central Texas and in other areas of the Cotton Belt. Because fleahopper infestations usually develop on weed hosts in the early spring, identification of new hosts is critical to understanding potential sources of fleahopper infestations. Cotton fleahoppers were collected from Rapistrum rugosum (L.) All. during the early spring in Central Texas. Rapistrum rugosum, commonly known as turnipweed, has not been previously reported as an early-season host plant. The mean proportion of adults that were females was typically less than 0.50, and the virtual absence of nymphs suggests R. rugosum is primarily a foraging resource for adults. Because R. rugosum bloomed before other previously reported key early-season hosts and cotton fleahoppers were collected from this plant, these findings provide insight into factors which can influence the early-season dynamics of cotton fleahopper populations.