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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Pierce, Florida » U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory » Subtropical Insects and Horticulture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #350455

Research Project: IPM Methods for Insect Pests of Orchard Crops

Location: Subtropical Insects and Horticulture Research

Title: New species diversity revealed from molecular and morphological characterization of gall-inducting Calophya spp. (Hemiptera: Calophyidae) from Brazilian peppertree

Author
item Diaz, R - University Of Florida
item Dickey, Aaron
item Shatters, Robert - Bob
item Manrique, V - University Of Florida
item Vitorino, M - University Of Santa Catarina
item Overholt, W - University Of Florida

Submitted to: Molecular and Cellular Probes
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2015
Publication Date: 6/1/2015
Citation: Diaz, R., Dickey, A.M., Shatters, R.G., Manrique, V., Vitorino, M.D., Overholt, W.A. 2015. New species diversity revealed from molecular and morphological characterization of gall-inducting Calophya spp. (Hemiptera: Calophyidae) from Brazilian peppertree. Molecular and Cellular Probes. 26:90-98 http:dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mcp.2011.12.001.

Interpretive Summary: Brazilian peppertree, native to South America, is considered one of the worst upland invasive species in Florida. It is estimated that approx. 283,000 hectare in Florida have been invaded by this weed. Its aggressive growth, in addition to allelopathic properties, results in displacement of native vegetation and changes in plant community structure. In the United States, Brazilian peppertree also is present in Texas, Alabama, California, Georgia, and Hawaii. Mechanical methods and herbicide applications are used for controlling Brazilian peppertree; However, these methods are unsuitable for some natural areas due to the potential for collateral damage to native species and costly maintenance programs are required to prevent regrowth. There is general agreement among public and private land managers that an ecologically-based Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan is needed to provide an environmentally sustainable, cost-effective, and permanent solution to Florida’s Brazilian peppertree problem. Gall-inducing psyllids are specialist herbivores, several of which are associated with trees including the Brazilian peppertree. In Brazil, a psyllid was found that induces open-pit galls on the leaves of Brazilian peppertree. Adults lay eggs on new leaves and the larvae that hatch damage these leaves and cause leaf drop. Host specificity tests revealed that nymphs can develop only on Brazilian peppertree, and therefore this psyllid is considered a promising potential biological control agents of Brazilian peppertree in Florida. This work demonstrated the unique genetic characteristics of isolates of this psyllid collected from their native Brazil and is being used to provide molecular identification of populations used in release programs planned for the United States.

Technical Abstract: Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolia Raddi; Sapindales: Anacardiaceae), native to South America, is considered one of the worst upland invasive species in Florida. It is estimated that approx. 283,000 hectare in Florida have been invaded by this weed. Its aggressive growth, in addition to allelopathic properties, results in displacement of native vegetation and changes in plant community structure. In the United States, Brazilian peppertree also is present in Texas, Alabama, California, Georgia, and Hawaii. There is general agreement among public and private land managers that an ecologically-based Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan is needed to provide an environmentally sustainable, cost-effective, and permanent solution to Florida’s Brazilian peppertree problem. Gall-inducing psyllids in the genus Calophya (Hemiptera: Calophyidae) are specialist herbivores, several of which are associated with trees in the genus Schinus in South America. In Brazil, Calophya terebinthifolii Burckhardt & Basset and Calophya latiforceps Burckhardt induce open-pit galls on the leaves of Brazilian peppertree in the states of Santa Catarina and Bahia (Burckhardt & Basset 2000; Burckhardt et al. 2011), respectively. Adults lay eggs on margins and veins of new leaves, and after 7 to 9 days, crawlers hatch and initiate gall induction on the adaxial side of the leaves. Developmental time of Calophya terebinthifolii and Calophya latiforceps from egg to adult emergence is approximately 40 d (Christ et al. 2013; Diaz et al. 2014). Damage by Calophya latiforceps nymphs is characterized by yellowing, deformation, and abscission of leaves (Diaz et al. 2014). The psyllid damages plants by reducing leaf performance and thereby affecting plant growth. In laboratory trials, psyllid attack decreased photosynthesis by 59%, chlorophyll content by 10%, leaf area by 30%, and leaf biomass by 13% compared with uninfested trees (R. Diaz, unpublished data). Host specificity tests revealed that nymphs can develop only on Brazilian peppertree, and therefore Calophya spp. are considered promising potential biological control agents of Brazilian peppertree in Florida. The goal of this study was to characterize the Calophya populations maintained in the quarantine facility in Florida by using morphological and genetic methods. Based on morphology, adults from Brazilian populations Ubu, Carapina, and Salvador were identified as Calophya latiforceps and adults from population Camboriú as C terebinthifolii by Susan Halbert (Ubu, Carapina, and Salvador) and Daniel Burckhardt (Salvador). Morphological examination of 5th instar nymphs detected differences within C. latiforceps, with a population from Ubu, Espírito Santo, being distinct from the other 2 populations. Molecular characterization of the mitochondrial CO1 gene supported the presence of a new species of Calophya.