Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wapato, Washington » Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #291730

Title: Gender- and species-specific characteristics of bacteriomes from three psyllid species (Hemiptera: Psylloidae)

item Cooper, William - Rodney
item Horton, David

Submitted to: Journal of Entomological Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/7/2013
Publication Date: 5/16/2014
Publication URL:
Citation: Cooper, W.R., Horton, D.R. 2014. Gender- and species-specific characteristics of bacteriomes from three psyllid species (Hemiptera: Psylloidae). Journal of Entomological Science. 49(2):190-194.

Interpretive Summary: Pear psylla is a major pest of pear in North America and Europe. Another psyllid species, the potato psyllid, is a major pest of potato in North America and New Zealand. All psyllids have obligate associations with symbiotic bacteria that are held within specialized organs called bacteriomes. The beneficial bacteria held within the bacteriomes could be targeted to develop novel ways to control pear psylla and potato psyllids. Scientists at the USDA-ARS in Wapato, WA compared the size and appearance of bacteriomes from males and females of the potato psyllid, the pear psylla, and a non-pest psyllid as a control. The bacteriomes of pear psylla and potato psyllid were similar in appearance, but were distinctly different from the bacteriomes of the non-pest psyllid. In each psyllid species, bacteriomes of females were larger and more intensely pigmented. Results from this study will help researchers control for biological variation in studies on the roles of symbiotic bacteria held within bacteriomes, and to find ways to target bacteriomes and symbionts to control agriculturally important psyllids.

Technical Abstract: Psyllids (Hemiptera: Pyslloidea) harbor bacterial symbionts in specialized organs called bacteriomes. Bacteriomes may be subject to manipulation to control psyllid pests including Bactericera cockerelli (Sulc) (Hemiptera: Triozidae) and Cacopsylla pyricola (Forster) (Hemiptera: Psyllidae) if the biological and ecological functions of bacteriomes and symbionts were better understood. To support research on psyllid bacteriomes and symbionts, this report provides descriptions of bacteriomes from B. cockerelli, C. pyricola, and Aphalara calthae L. (Hemiptera: Aphalaridae). In each species, bacteriomes were situated between the reproductive organs and the posterior midgut appendages. Tracheae attached to, and deeply penetrated the lateral margins of the bacteriome lobes. The shape of the bacteriome of A. calthae differed from those of B. cockerelli and C. pyricola, which were similar in appearance. Bacteriomes of females were larger and more darkly pigmented compared with those of males, regardless of psyllid species. Bacteriocytes of females also stained more intensely with hemotoxylin-eosin compared with those of males. These descriptions will be useful in future studies on the roles of bacteriomes and symbionts in interactions between psyllids, host-plants, and psyllid-vectored plant pathogens.