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Title: Settling and ovipositional behavior of the potato psyllid, Bactericera Cockerelli (Sule)(Hemiptera: Triozidae), on Solanaceous hosts under field and laboratory conditions

item THINAKARAN, J - Texas A&M Agrilife
item PIERSON, E - Texas A&M University
item LONGNECKER, M - Texas A&M University
item TAMBORINDEGUY, C - Texas A&M University
item Munyaneza, Joseph - Joe
item RUSH, C - Texas A&M Agrilife
item HENNE, D - Texas A&M Agrilife

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/13/2015
Publication Date: 6/1/2015
Citation: Thinakaran, J., Pierson, E.A., Longnecker, M., Tamborindeguy, C., Munyaneza, J.E., Rush, C.M., Henne, D.C. 2015. Settling and ovipositional behavior of the potato psyllid, Bactericera Cockerelli (Sule)(Hemiptera: Triozidae), on Solanaceous hosts under field and laboratory conditions. Journal of Economic Entomology. 108:904-916.

Interpretive Summary: Potato psyllid is the insect vector of the bacterium that causes zebra chip, a new and economically important disease of potato in the United States and several other countries. This bacterium also severely damages other important vegetable crops. Researchers at USDA-ARS Wapato in Washington, in collaboration with scientists at Texas A&M University, assessed host preference of potato psyllid for potato, tomato, pepper, eggplant and silverleaf nightshade, an important perennial weed commonly found near potato crops in Texas. It was determined that potato psyllid preferred potato and tomato better than pepper, eggplant, and silverleaf nightshade. This insect also preferred larger and lone plants, regardless of the host plant. Information from this research will help growers minimize damage caused by zebra chip and related diseases by particularly protecting larger potato and tomato plants from potato psyllid with selected insecticide applications.

Technical Abstract: Potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli, is a seasonal insect pest in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where it transmits the bacterial pathogen ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ that causes zebra chip disease of potato. Studies were conducted to evaluate host preference of B. cockerelli adults for different plant species, and plant size and density. Settling and oviposition behavior of B. cockerelli was studied on its wild and cultivated solanaceous hosts, including potato, tomato, pepper, eggplant, and silverleaf nightshade, under both field and laboratory conditions. Naturally occurring B. cockerelli were used to evaluate host preference under open field conditions throughout the growing season. Settling and oviposition preference studies in the laboratory were conducted as cage-release experiments using pairs of plants and observations were recorded over a 72 h period. Results of field trials indicated that naturally occurring B. cockerelli preferred potato and tomato equally for settling and oviposition, but settled on pepper, eggplant and silverleaf nightshade only in the absence of potato and tomato. Under laboratory conditions, B. cockerelli adults preferred larger host plants, regardless of the species tested. Results also showed that movement of B. cockerelli was minimal after initial landing and settling behavior was influenced by host plant density. Lone plants attracted the most psyllids and could be used as sentinel plants to monitor B. cockerelli activity. Information from both field and laboratory studies demonstrated that not only host plant species determined host selection behavior of B. cockerelli adults, but also plant size and density.