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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #331168

Research Project: Improved Biologically-Based Methods for Insect Pest Management of Crop Insect Pests

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research

Title: Disrupting mating behavior of Diaphorina citri (Liviidae)

item Lujo, Sylvia
item HARTMAN, ETHAN - University Of Florida
item Norton, Kayla
item Pregmon, Emily
item ROHHDE, BARUKH - University Of Florida
item Mankin, Richard

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/15/2016
Publication Date: 10/5/2016
Citation: Lujo, S., Hartman, E., Norton, K.R., Pregmon, E.A., Rohhde, B., Mankin, R.W. 2016. Disrupting mating behavior of Diaphorina citri (Liviidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 109(6):2373-2379.

Interpretive Summary: The Asian citrus psyllid is an important pest that transmits a devastating bacterial disease, huanglongbing, in Florida citrus groves. Mating disruption is one of the potential methods to reduce psyllid populations and help control the spread of huanglongbing. Researchers at the USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Florida, have conducted experiments demonstrating that the vibrational communication signals these insects use for mating courtship activities in citrus trees can be disrupted by loud, synthetically produced mimics in the same way that persons’ voices can be drowned out in a crowded room. The manuscript discusses several methods by which mating disruption can be adapted for control of psyllids in large citrus groves.

Technical Abstract: Severe economic damage from citrus greening disease, caused by ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ bacteria, has stimulated development of methods to reduce mating and reproduction in populations of its insect vector, Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera: Liviidae). Male D. citri find mating partners by walking on host plants, intermittently producing vibrational calls that stimulate duetting replies by receptive females. The replies provide orientational feedback, assisting the search process. To test a hypothesis that D. citri mating can be disrupted using vibrational signals that compete with and/or mask female replies, courtship bioassays were conducted in citrus trees with or without interference from female reply mimics produced by a vibrating buzzer. Statistically significant reductions occurred in the rates and proportions of mating when the buzzer produced reply mimics within 0.4 s after male courtship calls compared with undisturbed controls. Observations of courtship behaviors in the two bioassays revealed activity patterns that likely contributed to the reductions. In both disruption and control tests, males reciprocated frequently between structural bifurcations and other transition points where signal amplitudes changed. Males in the disruption bioassay had to select among vibrational signals combined from the buzzer and the female at each transition point. They often turned towards the buzzer instead of the female. There was a statistically significant reduction in the proportion of males mating if they contacted the buzzer, possibly due to its higher vibration amplitude and duration in comparison with female replies. Potential applications of D. citri mating disruption technology in citrus groves are discussed.