Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #371477

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

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research

Title: Mating behavior of the Asian citrus psyllid

item Mankin, Richard
item ROHDE, BARUKH - University Of Florida

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/22/2020
Publication Date: 6/11/2020
Citation: Mankin, R.W., Rohde, B. 2020. Mating behavior of the Asian citrus psyllid. In: Qureshi, Jawwad A., Stansly, Philip A.(eds) Biology, Ecology and Management of the Huanglongbing Vector. Boston, MA:CABI Publishing.p.30-42.

Interpretive Summary: The Asian citrus psyllid is the vector of the bacterium that causes Huanglongbing disease in citrus which has had a great economic impact in Florida and worldwide. A review of important features of the mating behavior of the Asian citrus psyllid was compiled for a chapter by a student at University of Florida in collaboration with a scientist at the USDA-ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Florida. The authors evaluated important features of the mating behavior of the Asian citrus psyllid that could be co-opted to trap males and/or disrupt mating behavior in field environments thus enabling improved targeting and reductions of psyllid populations. The Chapter presents information on the development of this acoustic technology with improved efficiencies and reduced costs which can contribute to the reduction of the Asian citrus psyllid populations by reducing mating and help control the spread of Huanglongbing disease that is killing citrus trees.

Technical Abstract: Many aspects of the mating behavior of Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Liviidae), Asian citrus psyllid are shared by other members of the Psylloidea. Adults are reproductively mature within about 2 days post-eclosion, and both sexes mate multiple times during their lifetime. Typically, courtship is mediated by short-range, substrate-borne vibrational communication and semiochemicals. In citrus orchards, D. citri courtship is facilitated by host-seeking and foraging behavior, as both sexes are attracted to green and yellow colors, as well as to volatiles of young flush shoots on the host tree, and short-range communication is sufficient for finding mates in aggregations that develop soon after the flush opens. Courtship behavior includes a series of duets, in which a searching male produces vibrational calls that elicit rapid replies from receptive females, enabling him to focus on willing partners. Both sexes produce vibrational communication signals by extending and fanning their wings while their legs hold on to the plant. The signal is transmitted to the host plant structures and then detected by vibration-sensitive, chordotonal organs in the legs of the receiving conspecific. During the duetting bouts, male D. citri call intermittently, with an interval of 9 ± 1.4 s (mean ± standard error) between calls, and females reply within 0.95 ± 0.09 s. Males produce signals ranging approximately 150– 500 ms in duration, and females 331–680 ms. The spectra of communication signals produced by D. citri have prominent frequencies that are multiples (harmonics) of the 170–250 Hz wingbeat frequency, and both sexes respond behaviorally to synthetic signals containing three or more wingbeat harmonics. When the male finds the female, he moves alongside with their heads pointing in the same direction and grasps her with his adjacent legs, bringing his abdomen from underneath to meet the opening of her genital segment. They remain in copulation for about 48 min. Dispersal and mating behavior of D. citri is influenced by abiotic factors including light, temperature, storms, and barometric pressure, and by biotic factors including host plant flush, host plant structure, aggregation behaviors, and learning behaviors. Opportunities exist to coopt D. citri mating behavior for purposes of detecting and managing populations, enabling reductions in the incidence and spread of the bacteria causing huanglongbing, a devastating disease of citrus. This chapter describes details of what is currently known about D. citri mating behavior and how such knowledge has been applied in development of methods that apply vibrational communication to disrupt mating or trap males.