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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Parlier, California » San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center » Crop Diseases, Pests and Genetics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #333484

Title: Mating behavior and vibrational mimicry in the glassy-winged sharpshooter, Homalodisca vitripennis

item NIERI, RACHELE - Fondazione Edmund Mach
item MAZZONI, VALERIO - Fondazione Edmund Mach
item Gordon, Shira
item Krugner, Rodrigo

Submitted to: Journal of Pest Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/14/2017
Publication Date: 6/1/2017
Citation: Nieri, R., Mazzoni, V., Gordon, S.D., Krugner, R. 2017. Mating behavior and vibrational mimicry in the glassy-winged sharpshooter, Homalodisca vitripennis. Journal of Pest Science. 90(3):887-899.

Interpretive Summary: Xylella fastidiosa is an economically important bacterial pathogen of several commercial crops in South, Central, and North America. The glassy-winged sharpshooter, Homalodisca vitripennis, an important vector of X. fastidiosa, uses substrate-borne vibrational communication to accomplish mating. Male-female pairs established a mating duet that was divided in two phases: identification and courtship. When two males competed for a female, a male-male rival competition was established, which is unique within insects: the rival emitted two specific signals to mimic the female and disrupt the ongoing mating duet. This knowledge may be used in the future to develop an environmentally safe pest management tool.

Technical Abstract: Vibrational communication is widespread in insects, particularly in leafhoppers where the pair formation process is mediated by species-specific vibrational signals. One important pest using vibrational communication, glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS), Homalodisca vitripennis, is a vector of Xylella fastidiosa that is the causal agent of Pierce’s disease of grapevine. The mating behavior of GWSS and associated vibrational signals were described in different social contexts: individuals, pairs, and one female with two competing males. Behavioral analysis showed that GWSS mating communication involved the emission of three male and two female signals, with specific roles in two distinct phases of mating behavior, species identification and courtship. Mating success depended on vibrational duets between genders, which were temporarily interrupted in the presence of male rivalry. Male rivalry behavior involved the emission of three distinct rivalry signals. Two signals resemble female signals and were associated with replacement of the female in the duet by the rival male. The third rivalry signal was emitted by two competing males and associated with suppression of signaling activity of one of them. Data suggested that rival males used mimicry and hostile signals to gain access to a female. In conclusion, given the relative complexity of the GWSS pair formation process and since male and female mating communication relies on vibrational signaling, GWSS should be considered for mechanical mating disruption for population control.