Skip to main content
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 #396078

Research Project: Improvement of the Aflatoxin Biocontrol Technology Based on Aspergillus flavus Population Biology, Genetics, and Crop Management Practices

Location: Pest Management and Biocontrol Research

Title: A labor-saving marking and sampling technique for mark-release-recapture research

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

Submitted to: Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/18/2022
Publication Date: 1/3/2023
Citation: Hagler, J.R., Casey, M.T., Hull, A.M., Machtley, S.A. 2023. A labor-saving marking and sampling technique for mark-release-recapture research. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 171(2):138-145. https://doi.org/10.1111/eea.13259.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/eea.13259

Interpretive Summary: Knowing the dispersion patterns of insects in agroecosystems is essential for effective pest management. Scientists at the ARS laboratory in Maricopa, Arizona developed an insect marking and collecting method that shows promise for studying the dispersal behavior of small and delicate pests. The scientists marked sweet potato whiteflies, a major cotton pest, with a liquid fluorophore that glows brightly under ultraviolet light. Then, a series of simulated recapture tests were conducted on fluorophore-marked whiteflies using yellow sticky cards to capture the marked specimens. The marking and sampling (collection) procedures showed that fluorophore-marked whiteflies can be rapidly and precisely detected while they are still trapped on the card. These findings are significant because it eliminates the tedious task of removing specimens off sticky cards and examining them individually for the presence of a mark. The novel fluorophore marking and sampling methods will expedite future dispersal research on whiteflies and on a wide variety of other arthropods.

Technical Abstract: A marking and recapture sampling method was developed that shows promise for studying the dispersal behavior of small and delicate arthropods. Adult sweet potato whiteflies, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius)(Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae), were externally marked with a liquid fluorophore that glows brightly under ultraviolet (UV) light. Then, a series of simulated recapture tests on fluorophore-marked whiteflies using yellow sticky cards were conducted. The marked whiteflies captured on the sticky cards were detected by direct visual inspection of photographs taken of the cards under white light and UV light. Whitefly counts taken under white and UV light were almost identical, implying high marking efficacy and visual distinctiveness. These results suggest that this fluorophore marking and sampling method could eliminate the tedious task of removing specimens from sticky cards and examining them individually for the presence of a mark.