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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Mayaguez, Puerto Rico » Tropical Crops and Germplasm Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #305889

Title: Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera:Liviidae) abundance in Puerto Rico declines with elevation

item Jenkins, David
item Hall, David
item Goenaga, Ricardo

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/21/2014
Publication Date: 1/20/2015
Citation: Jenkins, D.A., Hall, D.G., Goenaga, R.J. 2015. Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera:Liviidae) abundance in Puerto Rico declines with elevation. Journal of Economic Entomology. 108(1):252-258.

Interpretive Summary: The Asian citrus psyllid transmits huanglongbing, or citrus greening, the most devastating disease of citrus worldwide. There have been anecdotes that Asian citrus psyllid becomes less abundant as elevation increases. We tested that hypothesis by monitoring Asian citrus psyllid populations in citrus orchards at 17 different elevations (between 10 and 880 meters above sea level) in Puerto Rico. Our results provide strong evidence that Asian citrus psyllid abundance declines with elevation. We detected no Asian citrus psyllid above 600 meters. Identifying the factors affecting the geographical and ecological distribution of psyllid populations could help develop management strategies for the insect and the disease it spreads.

Technical Abstract: Diaphorina citri is the primary vector of Hunglongbing disease, the most devastating disease of citrus. Diaphorina citri populations in Puerto Rico were monitored with yellow sticky traps on citrus trees at different elevations, ranging from 10 to 880 m above sea level. Trapping was conducted in March through May of 2013 and 2014 when citrus was flushing and psyllid populations were high. Populations of D. citri varied among the sites and there was a strong trend both years for decreasing psyllid abundance and a decreased proportion of infested trees with increased elevation. Above 600 m no psyllids were ever trapped. Two sites at lower elevations (48 and 190 m above sea level) had much lower populations of D. citri than would be expected if populations varied according to elevation. At one site (48 m above sea level), the low psyllid populations could be attributed to frequent pesticide applications. We cannot explain the low population at the 190 m site, but this orchard is very humid and shady and these could be contributing factors. A tree at one site in 2013 (161 m above sea level) had much higher psyllid populations than other trees sampled. This was a young tree of Bergera koenigii, the only one included in the study, and suggests that B. koenigii supports higher populations of D. citri than other Rutaceae, or that B. koenigii is very attractive to D. citri adults. We discuss our results as they pertain to management of D. citri and Huanglongbing disease.