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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Maricopa, Arizona » U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center » Pest Management and Biocontrol Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #388920

Research Project: Sustainable Pest Management for Arid-Land Agroecosystems

Location: Pest Management and Biocontrol Research

Title: Use of a fluorophore to tag arthropods for mark-release-recapture type research

item Hagler, James
item Hull, Allya
item Casey, Miles
item Machtley, Scott

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/10/2021
Publication Date: 12/10/2021
Citation: Hagler, J.R., Hull, A.M., Casey, M.T., Machtley, S.A. 2021. Use of a fluorophore to tag arthropods for mark-release-recapture type research. Journal of Insect Science. 21(6). Article ieab099.

Interpretive Summary: Tracking dispersal patterns in agroecosystems is essential for efficient management of arthropod pests and conservation of natural enemies and pollinators. Scientists at the ARS laboratory in Maricopa, Arizona developed a new method to tag arthropods so they can be tracked in their habitat. The scientists marked various insect species with the forensic theft deterrent, SmartWater. SmartWater is a persistent liquid taggant. It is invisible under normal light and fluoresces bright green under ultraviolet light. Their research showed that the product has enormous potential as a taggant for lygus bugs and whiteflies, the two most notorious cotton pests. This novel marking technique will provide a valuable methodology to track the large-scale dispersal patterns of these crop pests.

Technical Abstract: We examined the feasibility of externally marking insects with the liquid fluorescent forensic theft deterrent, SmartWater® (SmartWater CSI, LLC.). We sprayed captive Lygus hesperus (Knight) (Hemiptera: Miridae), Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae), and Hippodamia convergens Guérin-Méneville (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) with SmartWater fluorophore, and then qualitatively examined them for fluorescence by visual inspection under ultraviolet (UV) light and quantitatively measured them with a multi-wavelength microplate fluorometer. The results indicate that this product has enormous potential as a taggant for L. hesperus and B. tabaci. However, the marking efficiency for H. convergens was only adequate. The advantages and limitations of using SmartWater as a biological marker for arthropod mark-release-recapture (MRR) research are discussed.