Insect Transmission of Xylella fastidiosa to Pecan
Pecan bacterial leaf scorch (PBLS), caused by the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa, can cause economically significant crop loss to some pecan (Carya illinoinensis) cultivars in the southeastern United States. X. fastidiosa is typically vectored by spittlebugs (Cercopidae) and leafhoppers (Cicadellidae). Because no vector species had been reported for pecan, an attempt was made to identify potential vectors that are capable of acquiring the bacterium from infected pecan trees and transmitting to pecan. Several spittlebug, and leafhopper species collected from various sources, including sorghum and pecan, were tested as potential vectors of the pathogen from pecan to pecan. When tested in group, the pecan spittlebug, Clastoptera achatina; the Johnson-grass grass sharpshooter, Homalodisca insolita; and the glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS). Homalodisca vitripennis, had transmission rates to pecan of 11.4, 19.3. and 4%, respectively, following a pathogen acquisition period on infected pecan terminals. The pecan spittlebug is common in Pecan orchards in the southeastern United States, and the GWSS was observed on young vigorous Pecan shoots. Limited testing with the diamond-backed spittlebug, Lepyronia quadrangularis, and the lateral-lined sharpshooter. Cuerna costalis, suggested that these could lie occasional vectors of, X. fastidiosa to pecan. There is a need for Studies oil the identification and population dynamics of Cicadellidae that inhabit pecan orchards to determine if management of, vectors is needed in commercial pecan production to reduce the spread of PBLS.