Submitted to: Entomological Society of America Newsletter
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/6/2011
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Some cotton producers from south Texas and the Gulf Coast regions have been unfortunate over the last few years because they have had to deal with a green plant bug, Creontiades signatus, that will feed on cotton fruit. The insect was initially, and erroneously, thought to be Creontiades dilutus, an almost identical looking bug with the common name “green mirid” which turns out to be the number one pest of cotton in Australia. After some molecular and taxonomic work comparing the two cousins, it has been determined that the Australian green mirid and the one infesting South Texas are cousins and not the same species. Therefore, our native plant bug has been given a common name, sanctioned by the Entomological Society of America, as the “verde plant bug". Verde meaning green in Spanish. The verde plant bug lays egg that are flush with the surface of a cotton petiole. The nymphs molt 5 times before turning to adults (adults are about 0.5 inches in length). Small nymphs look much like a cotton fleahopper. The historical development pattern for the “verde plant bug” infesting cotton has been that it really likes certain Gulf Coast plants from the salty or saline soils of the Gulf Coast, and does well on these in the winter, if it does not get too cold. But as it warms up and crops progress, including grain sorghum heads, it will migrate and reproduce on any number of crop and weed species. It appears to be somewhat like a “snowball” effect where as the temperature warms and more succulent host plants are available, it starts to roll. Verde plant bugs usually don’t move in to cotton until bolls are formed, but they should be scouted for any time cotton is squaring to be on the safe side.